Skip to main content

Full text of "The earth trembled"

See other formats


NORTH Carolina 






JfaljUViu^L ufj j. 







Copyright, 18S7, 
By DODD, mead, & COMPANY. 


Mary Wallingford i 

Love's Agony 9 

Uncle Sheba's Experience 15 

Mara 24 

Past and Future 31 

"Pahnaship" 39 

Mara's Purpose 49 

Never Forget; Never Forgive 56 

A New Solace , 66 

Miss Ainsley 73 




Two Questions 

A '"Fabulation" '^9 


Captain Dodine 


"All Girls Together" '09 

Two Little Bakers 121 

Honest Foes 131 

Fireside Dramas i39 

.■\ Fair Duellist 151 

.\ Chivalrous Surprise 162 

The Stranger Explains 169 

Uncle Sheba Sat Upon 181 

Young Houghton is Discussed 192 

Tin \VARNrN(; 199 



"The Idea!" 208 

Feminine Friends . 219 

Ella's Crumb of Comfort 227 

Recognized as Lover 234 

"Heaven Speed You Then" 242 

Consternation , 250 

Tempests 261 

" I Absolve You " 270 

False S elf-Sacrifice 278 

A Sure Test 287 

" Bitterness Must be Cherished " 294 

Noble Revenge 305 

A Father's Frenzy 315 




Clouds Lii-iing 325 

"Ves, Vilet" 336 

The Earthquake 343 

"God" 350 

Scenes Never to be Forgotten 359 

A Homeless City • • • • 373 

"The Terror by Night" 385 

Hope turned into Dread 395 

A City Encamping 410 

"On Jordan's Banks we Stan'" 4:10 

Lights and Shadows of a Night 432 

Good urought out of Evil 444 




AT the beginning of the Civil War there was a fine old 
residence on Meeting Street in Charleston, South 
Carolina, inhabited by a family almost as old as the State. 
Its inheritor and owner, Orville Burgoyne, was a widower. 
He had been much saddened in temperament since the 
death of his wife, and had withdrawn as far as possible 
from public affairs. His library and the past had secured a 
stronger hold upon his interest and his thoughts than any 
thing in the present, with one exception, his idohzed and 
only child, Mary, named for her deceased mother. Any 
book would be laid aside when she entered ; all gloom 
banished from his eyes when she coaxed and caressed him. 

She was in truth, one to be loved because so capable of 
love herself. She conquered and ruled every one, not 
through wilfulness or imperiousness, but by a gentle charm, 
all her own, which disarmed opposition. 

At first Mr. Burgoyne had paid little heed to the mutter- 
ings which preceded the Civil War, beUeving them to be 
but Chinese thunder, produced by ambitious politicians. 
North and South. He was pre-occupied by the study of 
an old system of philosophy which he fancied possessed 


more truth than many a more plausible and modem one. 
Mary, with some fancy work in her hands, often watched 
his deep abstraction in wondering awe, and occasionally 
questioned him in regard to his thoughts and studies ; but 
as his explanations were almost unintelligible, she settled 
down to the complacent belief that her father was one of 
the most learned men in the world. 

At last swiftly culminating events aroused Mr. Burgoyne 
from his abstraction and drove him from his retirement. 
He accepted what he believed to be duty in profound 
sorrow and regret. His own early associations and those 
of his ancestors had been with the old flag and its fortunes ; 
his relations to the political leaders of the South were too 
slight to produce any share in the alienation and misunder- 
standings which had been growing between the two great 
sections of his country, and he certainly had not the slightest 
sympathy with those who had fomented the ill-will for per- 
sonal ends. Finally, however, he had found himself face to 
face with the momentous certainty of a separation of his 
State from the Union. For a time he was bewildered and 
disturbed beyond measure ; for he was not a prompt man 
of affairs, living keenly in the present, but one who had been 
suddenly and rudely summoned from the academic groves 
of the old philosophers to meet the burning, imperative 
questions of the day — questions put with the passionate 
earnestness of a people excited beyond measure. 

It was this very element of popular feeling which finally 
turned the scale in his decision. Apparently the entire 
Southern people were unanimous in their determination " to 
be free " and to separate themselves from their old political 
relations. His pastor with all other friends of his own rank 
confirmed this impression, and, as it was known that he 
wavered, the best and strongest men of his acquaintance 
argued the question with him. His daughter was early 


carried away by the enthusiasm of her young companions, 
but nevertheless she watched the conflict in her father's 
mind with the deepest interest. She often saw him walk 
the floor with unwonted tears in his eyes and almost agony 
on his brow ; and when at last, he decided in accordance 
with the prevailing sentiment of his State, the Act of Seces-'^ 
sion and all that it involved became sacred in her thoughts. 

She trembled and shrank when the phase of negotiation 
passed away, and war was seen to be the one alternative 
to submission. She never doubted or hesitated, however ; 
neither did her father after his mind was once made up. 
Every day the torrent of bitter feeling deepened and broad- 
ened between them and the North, of which, practically, 
they knew very little. Even such knowledge as they pos- 
sessed had come through distorted mediums, and now 
every thing was colored by the blackest prejudice. They 
were led to believe and made to feel that not only their 
possessions but their life and honor were at stake. In early 
years Mr. Burgoyne had served with distinction in the war 
with Mexico, and he therefore prompdy received a com- 

The effect of her father's decision and action had been 
deepened a hundred - fold by an event which occurred 
soon afterwards. Among the thousands who thronged to 
Charleston when Fort Sumter was attacked, was the son of 
a wealthy planter residing in the interior of the State. This 
young soldier's enthusiasm and devotion were much bruited 
in the city, because, waiving wealth and rank, he had served 
as a private. His fearlessness at Fort Moultrie enhanced 
his reputation, and when the small garrison of heroes, com- 
manded by Major Anderson, succumbed, Sidney Wallingford 
found that he had been voted a hero himself, especially by 
his fair compatriots with whom he had formerly danced 
when visiting the town. 


The young fellow's head was not easily turned, however, 
for when, at an evening gathering, a group was lauding 
the great achievement he said disdainfully, " What ! thou- 
sands against seventy? Despise the Yankees as we may, 
the odds were too great. The only thing we can plume 
ourselves upon is that we would have fought just the same 
had the seventy been seven thousand. I think the fellows 
did splendidly, if they were Yankees, yet what else could we 
expect since their commander was a Southern man? Oh 
no ! we must wait till the conditions are more even before 
we can exult over our victories. I reckon we'll have them 
all the same though." 

Murmurs of approbation followed these remarks, but he 
saw only the eloquent eyes of Mary Burgoyne, and, offering 
her his arm, led her away. 

The spring night was as warm as a June evening at the 
North, and they joined the groups that were strolling under 
the moonlight in the garden. 

Sidney felt the young girl's hand tremble on his arm, and 
he drew it closer to his side. She soon asked falteringly, 
"Mr. Wallingford, do you think — will the conditions be- 
come more even, as you suggested? Can it be that the 
North will be so carried away by this abolition fanaticism 
as to send armies and ships in the vain effort to subjugate 

" Thank you, Miss Mary, for saying that it will be a ' vain 
effort.' " 

" Of course it will be, with such men as my father 
and," — she suddenly hesitated. 

"And who else?" he gently asked, trying to look into 
her averted face. 

"Oh — well," she stammered with a forced little laugh, 
" thousands of brave fellows like you. You do not answer 
my question. Are we to have any thing like a general war? 


Surely, there ought to be enough good, wise men on both 
sides to settle the matter." 

" The matter might be settled easily enough," he replied 
lightly. " We know our rights, and shall firmly assert them. 
If the Yankees yield, all well; if not, we'll make 'em." 

" But making them may mean a great war? " 

" Oh, yes, some serious scrimmages I reckon. We're 
prepared, however, and will soon bring the North to its 

" If any thing should happen to my father ! " she sighed. 

He had led her beneath the shadow of a palmetto, and 
now breathed into her ear, " Mary, dear Mary, how much 
I'd give to hear you say in the same tone, ' If any thing 
should happen to Sidney ' ! " She did not withdraw her 
hand from his arm, and he again felt it tremble more than 
before. " Mary," he continued earnestly, " I have asked 
your father if I might speak to you, and he did not deny me 
the privilege. Oh, Mary, you must have seen my love in 
my eyes and heard it in my tones long since. Mary," he 
concluded impetuously, " let me but feel that I am defend- 
ing you as well as my State, and I can and will be a soldier 
in very truth." 

She suddenly turned and sobbed on his shoulder, "That's 
what I fear, — I can hide my secret from you no longer — 
that's what I fear. Those I love will be exposed to sudden 
and terrible death. I am not brave at all." 

"Shall I go home and plant cotton?" he asked, half 

" No, no, a thousand times no," she cried passionately. 
" Have I not seen the deep solemnity with which my father 
accepted duty so foreign to his tastes and habits ? Can you 
think I would wish you to shrink or fail — you who are so 
strong and brave ? No, no, in very truth. Self must mean 
only self-sacrifice until our sacred cause is won. Yet think 


twice, Sidney, before you bind yourself to me. I fear I am 
not so brave as other women appear to be in these times. 
My heart shrinks unspeakably from war and bloodshed. 
Although I shall not falter, I shall suffer agonies of dread. 
I cannot let you go to danger with stern words and dry 
eyes. I fear you'll find me too weak to be a soldier's wife." 

He led her into deeper and shadier seclusion as he 
asked, " Do you think I'll hesitate because you have a heart 
in your bosom instead of a stone? No, my darling. We 
must keep a brave aspect to the world, but my heart is as 
tender towards you as yours towards me. What else in 
God's universe could I dread more than harm to you? But 
there is little cause to fear. The whole South will soon be 
with us, foreign nations will recognize us as an independent 
people and then we will dictate our own terms of peace ; 
then you shall be my bride in this, our proud city by the 

He kissed away her tears, and they strolled through the 
shadowy walks until each had regained the composure essen- 
tial in the bright drawing-rooms. 

A commission with the rank of captain was speedily 
offered young Wallingford. He accepted it, but said he 
would return home and raise his own company. This 
action was also applauded by his friends and the authorities. 
Mary saw her father smile approvingly and proudly upon 
her choice, and he became her ideal hero as well as lover. 

He fulfilled his promises, and before many weeks passed, 
re-entered Charleston with a hundred brave fellows, devoted 
to him. The company was inco'rporated into one of the 
many regiments forming, and Mr. Burgoyne assured his 
daughter that the young captain was sure of promotion, and 
would certainly make a thorough soldier. 

Even in those early and lurid days a few things were 
growing clear, and among them was the fact that the North 


would not recognize the doctrine of State Rights, nor 
peaceably accept the Act of Secession. Soldiers would be 
needed, — how long no one knew, for the supreme question 
of the day had passed from the hands of statesmen to those 
of the soldier. The lack of mutual knowledge, the mis- 
apprehension and the gross prejudices existing between the 
two sections, would have been ludicrous had they not been 
fraught with such long-continued woes. Southern papers 
published such stuff as this : " The Northern soldiers are 
men who prefer enlisting to starvation ; scurvy fellows 
from the back slums of cities, with whom Falstaff would 
not have marched through Coventry. Let them come 
South, and we will put our negroes at the dirty work of 
killing them. But they will not come South. Not a wretch 
of them will live on this side of the border longer than it 
will take us to reach the ground and drive them off." The 
Northern press responded in kind : " No man of sense," 
it was declared, " could for a moment doubt that this much- 
ado-about-nothing would end in a month. The Northern 
people are simply invincible. The rebels, a mere band of 
ragamuffins, will fly like chaff before the wind on our ap- 
proach." Thus the wretched farces of bluster continued on 
either side until in blood, agony, and heartbreak, Americans 
learned to know Americans. 

President Lincoln, however, had called out seventy-five 
thousand troops, and these men were not long in learning 
that they could not walk over the South in three months. 
The South also discovered that these same men could not be 
terrified into abandoning the attempt. There were thought- 
ful men on both sides who early began to recognize the 
magnitude of the struggle upon which they had entered. 
Among these was Major Burgoyne, and the presentiment 
grew upon him that he would not see the end of the conflict. 
When, therefore, impetuous young Wallingford urged that 


he might call Mary his wife before he marched to distant 
battle-fields, the father yielded, feeling that it might be well 
for her to have another protector besides himself. The 
union was solemnized in old St. Michael's Church, where 
Mary's mother and grandmother had been married before 
her ; a day or two of quiet and happiness was vouchsafed, 
and then came the tidings of the first great battle of the war. 
Charleston resounded with acclamations of triumph ; bells 
sent out their merriest peals j cannon thundered from every 
fort on the harbor, but Mary wept on her husband's breast. 
Among the telegrams of victory had come an order for his 
regiment to go North immediately. Not even a brief 
honeymoon was permitted to her. 


love's agony. 

As the exaggerated reports of a magnificent Confederate 
victory at Bull Run continued to pour in, Major 
Burgoyne shared for a time in the general elation, believing 
that independence, recognition abroad, and peace had been 
virtually secured. All the rant about Northern cowardice 
appeared to be confirmed, and he eagerly waited for the 
announcement that Washington had been captured by 
Johnston's victorious army. 

Instead, came the dismal tidings from his only sister that 
her husband, Captain Hunter, had been killed in the battle 
over which he had been rejoicing. Then for some myste- 
rious reason the Southern army did not follow the Federals, 
who had left the field in such utter rout and panic. It soon 
appeared that the contending forces were occupying much 
the same positions as before. News of the second great 
uprising of the North followed closely, and presaged any 
thing but a speedy termination of the conflict. Major 
Burgoyne was not a Hotspur, and he grew thoughtful and 
depressed in spirit, although he sedulously concealed the 
fact from his associates. The shadow of coming events 
began to fall upon him, and his daughter gradually divined 
his lack of hopefulness. The days were already sad and full 
of anxiety, for her husband was absent. He had scouted 
the idea of the Yankees standing up before the impetuous 
onset of the Southern soldiers, and his words had apparently 


proved true, yet even those Northern cowards had killed 
one closely allied to her before they fled. Remembering, 
therefore, her husband's headlong courage, what assurance 
of his safety could she have although victory followed 

Major Burgoyne urged his widowed sister to leave her 
plantation in the charge of an overseer and make her home 
with him. "You are too near the probable theatre of military 
operations to be safe," he wrote, " and my mind cannot rest 
till you are with us in this city which we are rapidly making 
impregnable." The result was that she eventually became 
a member of his family. Her stern, sad face added to the 
young wife's depression, for the stricken woman had been 
rendered intensely bitter by her loss. Mary was too gentle 
in nature to hate readily, yet wrathful gleams would be 
emitted at times even from her blue eyes, as her aunt 
inveighed in her hard monotone against the " monstrous 
wrong of the North." They saw their side with such down- 
right sincerity and vividness that the offenders appeared to be 
beyond the pale of humanity. Few men, even though the 
frosts of many winters had cooled their blood and ripened 
their judgment, could reason dispassionately in those days, 
much less women, whose hearts were kept on a rack of tor- 
ture by the loss of dear ones or the dread of such loss. 

It is my purpose to dwell upon the war, its harrowing 
scenes and intense animosities, only so far as may be essen- 
tial to account for my characters and to explain subsequent 
events. The roots of personality strike deep, and the tap- 
root, heredity, runs back into the being of those who lived 
and suffered before we were born. 

Gentle Mary Burgoyne should have been part of a happier 
day and generation. The bright hopes of a speedily con- 
quered peace were dying away ; the foolish bluster on both 
sides at the beginning of the war had ceased, and the truth 


SO absurdly ignored at first, that Americans, North and South, 
would fight with equal courage, was made clearer by every 
battle. The heavy blows received by the South, however, 
did not change her views as to the wisdom and righteousness 
of her cause, and she continued to return blows at which 
the armies of the North reeled, stunned and bleeding. 
Mary was not permitted to exult very long, however, for the 
terrible pressure was quickly renewed with an unwavering 
pertinacity which created misgivings in the stoutest hearts. 
The Federals had made a strong lodgement on the coast of 
her own State, and were creeping nearer and nearer, often 
repulsed yet still advancing as if impelled by the remorseless 
principle of fate. 

At last, in the afternoon of a day early in April, events 
occurred never to be forgotten by those who witnessed them. 
Admiral Dupont, with his armored ships attempted to reduce 
Fort Sumter and capture the city. Thousands of specta- 
tors watched the awful conflict ; Mary Wallingford and her 
aunt, Mrs. Hunter, among them. The combined roar of the 
guns exceeded all the thunder they had ever heard. About 
three hundred Confederate cannon were concentrated on the 
turreted monitors, and some of the commanders said that 
*' shot struck the vessels as fast as the ticking of a watch." 
It would seem that the ships which appeared so diminutive 
in the distance must be annihilated, yet Mary with her 
powerful glass, saw them creep nearer and nearer. It was 
their shots, not those of her friends that she watched with 
agonized absorption, for every tremendous bolt was directed 
against the fort in which was her father. 

The conflict was too unequal ; the bottom of the harbor 
was known to be paved with torpedoes, and in less than an 
hour Dupont withdrew his squadron in order to save it from 

In strong re-action from intense excitement, Mary's knees 


gave way, and she sank upon them in thankfulness to God. 
Her aunt supported her to her room, gave restoratives, and 
the daughter in deep anxiety waited for tidings from her 
father. He did not come to her; he was brought, and 
there settled down upon her young life a night of grief and 
horror which no words can describe. While he was sighting 
a gun, it had been struck by a shell from the fleet, and when 
the smoke of the explosion cleared away he was seen among 
the debris, a mangled and unconscious form. He was ten- 
derly taken up, and after the conflict ended, conveyed to 
his home. On the way thither he partially revived, but 
reason was gone. His eyes were scorched and bhnded, his 
hearing destroyed by the concussion, and but one lingering 
thought survived in the wreck of his mind. In a plaintive 
and almost child-like tone he continually uttered the words, 
" I was only trying to defend my city and my home." 

Hour after hour he repeated this sentence, deaf to his 
child's entreaties for recognition and a farewell word. His 
voice grew more and more feeble until he could only whisper 
the sad refrain ; at last his lips moved but there was no 
sound ; then he was still. 

For a time it seemed as if Mary would soon follow him, 
but her aunt, her white face tearless and stem, bade her 
live for her husband and her unborn child. These sacred 
motives eventually enabled her to rally, but her heart now 
centred its love on her husband with an intensity which 
made her friends tremble for her future. His visits had 
been few and brief, and she lived upon his letters. When 
they were delayed, her eyes had a hunted, agonized look 
which even her stoical aunt could not endure. 

One day about midsummer she found the stricken wife, 
unconscious upon the floor with the daily paper in her 
clenched hand. When at last the physician had brought 
back feeble consciousness and again banished it by the 


essential opiate, Mrs. Hunter read the paragraph which, 
like a bolt, had struck down her niece. It was from an 
account of a battle in which the Confederates had been 
worsted and were being driven from a certain vantage point. 
"At this critical moment," ran the report, '' Col. Walling- 
ford, with his thinned regiment, burst through the crowd of 
fugitives rushing down the road, and struck the pursuing 
enemy such a stinging blow as to check its advance. If the 
heroic colonel and his little band could only have been 
supported at this instant the position might have been 
regained. As it was, they were simply overwhelmed as a 
slight obstacle is swept away by a torrent. But few escaped ; 
some were captured, while the colonel and the majority 
were struck down, trampled upon and fairly obliterated as 
the Northern horde of infantry and artillery swept forward 
all the more impetuously. The check was of very great 
advantage, however, for it gave our vastly out-numbered 
troops more time to rally in a stronger position." . . . 

This brief paragraph contained the substance of all that 
was ever learned of the young husband, and his mangled 
remains filled an unknown grave. His wife had received 
the blow direct, and she never rallied. Week after week 
she moaned and wept upon her bed when the physician 
permitted consciousness. Even in the deep sleep produced 
by opiates, she would shudder at the sound of Gilmore's 
guns as they thundered against Forts Sumter and Wagner. 
A faithful colored woman who had been a slave in the 
family from infancy, watched unweariedly beside her, 
giving place only to the stern-visaged aunt, whose touch 
and words were gentle, but who had lost the power to dis- 
guise the bitterness of her heart. She tried to waken 
maternal instincts in the wife, but in vain, for there are 
wounds of the spirit, like those of the body, which are 
fatal. All efforts to induce the widow to leave the city, 


already within reach of the Federal guns, were unavaihng, 
and she was the more readily permitted to have her own 
way, because, in the physician's opinion, the attempt would 
prove fatal. 

Meanwhile her time was drawing near. One August 
night she was dozing, and moaning in her sleep, when 
suddenly there was a strange, demoniac shriek through the 
air followed by an explosion which in the still night was 
terrifically loud. The invalid started up and looked wildly 
at her sable nurse who was trembling like a leaf. 

" O Lawd hab mercy, Missus," she exclaimed. " Dem 
Yankees shellin de town." 

Mrs. Hunter was instantly at the bedside. The faithful 
doctor came hurriedly of his own accord, and employed all 
his skill. 

A few hours later Mrs. Hunter tried to say cheerily, 
" Come, Mary, here is a fine little girl for you to love and 
live for." 

"Aunty," said the mother calmly, "I am dying. Let 
me see my child and kiss her. Then put her next my 
heart till it is cold." 

Mrs. Hunter lifted her startled eyes to the physician, who 
sadly nodded his head in acquiescence. In a few moments 
more the broken heart found healing far beyond all human 
passion and strife. 

With hot, yet tearless eyes, and a face that appeared to 
be chiselled from marble in its whiteness and rigidity, the 
aunt took up the child. Her tone revealed the indescrib- 
able intensity of her feelings as she said, "Thy name is 
Mara — bitterness." 




MANY years have elapsed since the events narrated in 
the last chapter occurred, and the thread of story is 
taken up again in the winter of 1886. In a small dweUing, 
scarcely more than a cabin, and facing on an obscure alley 
in Charleston, a rotund colored woman of uncertain age is 
sitting by the fire with her husband. She is a well-known 
character in the city, for she earns her bread by selling 
cakes, fruits, and other light articles which may be vended 
in the street with chances of profit. Although " Aun' 
Sheba," as she was familiarly called, had received no train- 
ing for mercantile pursuits, yet her native shrewdness had 
enabled her to hit upon the principles of success, as may be 
discovered by the reader as the story progresses. She had 
always been so emphatically the master of the house and 
the head of the family, that her husband went by the name 
of " Uncle Sheba." It must be admitted that the wife 
shared in the popular opinion of her husband. 

When in an amiable mood, which, happily, was her usual 
condition of mind, she addressed him as "Unc. ;" when 
some of his many short-comings exhausted her good nature — 
for Aun' Sheba had more good nature than patience — he 
was severely characterized as " Mr. Buggone." Since they 
had been brought up in Major Burgoyne's family, they felt 
entitled to his surname, and by evolution it had become 
" Buggone." Uncle Sheba's heart failed him when his wife 


addressed him by this title, for he knew he was beyond the 
dead line of safety. They dwelt alone in the cabin, their 
several children, with one exception, having been scattered 
they knew not where. Adjacent was another cabin, owned 
by a son-in-law, named Kern Watson, who had married their 
youngest daughter years before, and he was the pride of 
Aun' Sheba's heart. Uncle Sheba felt that he was not 
appreciated, or perhaps appreciated too well, by his son-in- 
law, and their intercourse was rather formal. 

On the evening in question, supper was over, but the table 
had not yet been cleared. Uncle Sheba was a good deal of 
an epicure, and, having left not a scrap of what his wife had 
vouchsafed to him, was now enjoying his corn-cob pipe. 
Aun' Sheba also liked a good square meal as much as any 
one, and she had the additional satisfaction that she had 
earned it. At this hour of the day she was usually very 
tired, and was accustomed to take an hour's rest before put- 
ting her living-room in order for the night. Although the 
twilight often fell before she returned from her mercantile pur- 
suits, she never intrusted Uncle Sheba with the task of getting 
supper, and no housekeeper in the city kept her provisions 
under lock and key more rigorously than did Aun' Sheba. 
After repeated trials, she had come to a decision. " Mr. 
Buggone," she had said in her sternest tones, '' you's wuss 
dan poah white trash when you gets a chance at de cubbard. 
Sence I can't trus' you nohow, I'se gwine to gib you a 
'lowance. You a high ole Crischun, askin' for you'se daily 
bread, an' den eatin' up 'nuff fer a week." 

Uncle Sheba often complained that he was " skimped," 
but his appearance did not indicate any meagreness in his 
" 'lowance," and he had accepted his lot in this instance, as 
in others, rather than lose the complacent consciousness 
that he was provided for without much effort on his 


Supper was Ann' Sheba's principal meal, and she practi- 
cally dined at the fashionable hour of six. What she termed 
her dinner was a very uncertain affair. Sometimes she 
swallowed it hastily at " Ole Tobe's rasteran," as she termed 
the eating-room kept by a white-wooled negro ; again she 
would " happen in " on a church sister, when, in passing, 
the odor of some cookery was appetizing. She always left, 
however, some compensation from her basket, and so was 
not unwelcome. Not seldom, also, a lady or a citizen who 
knew her well and the family to which she had once be- 
longed, would tell her to go to the kitchen. On such days 
Aun' Sheba's appetite flagged at supper, a fact over which 
her husband secretly rejoiced, since his allowance was almost 

She was now resting after the fatigues of the day, and the 
effort to get and dispose of a very substantial supper, and 
was puffing at her pipe in a meditative aspect. Evidently 
something unusual was on her mind, and she at last ejacu- 
lated, " I know dey'se poah." 

" Who's? " languidly queried Uncle Sheba. 

" Oh, you'd neber fin' out. Dey'd starve long o' you." 

" I dunno who dey is. What 'casion I got to pervide for 

" Ha, ha, ha, Unc. ! You'se a great pervider. Somehow 
or oder Fse got de notion dat you'se a 'sumer." 

" I bress de Lawd my appetite ain't failin' in spite ob de 

" If you rheumatiz was only in you jints, dere'd be a 
comfort in keerin' fer you, Unc, but it's in you min'." 

" You'll cotch it some day, an' den you know what 'tis. 
But who's dey dat you got on you min' ? " 

" Why, de young Missy and de ole Missus to be sho'." 

" I don' see how dey can be poah. Dey mus' hab kep' 
someting out all dey had." 


" So dey did, but it wan't much, an' I jus' b'lebe it's clar 
dun gone ! " 

" What ! de plantation in Virginny all gone? " 

" How often I tole you, Unc, dat I heard ole Missus say 
herself dat plantation was all trompl'd in de groun' an' 
what was lef was took fer taxes." 

" I forgits," remarked Uncle Sheba, his eyes growing 
heavy in his lack of interest ; " but ole Marse Wallingford 
mus' hab lef de widder ob his son someting," 

" Now look heah, Unc, you'se haf asleep. You'se 'low- 
ance too hebby dis ebenin'. How you forgit when I tell 
you ober an' ober? You doan keer. Dat's de foot de 
shoe's on. You know ole Marse Wallingford's plantation 
was trompl'd in de groun' too, — not a stick or stone lef by 
Sherman's sogers." 

" Well, dey sole dere fine house on Meetin' Street, an' 
dat mus' a brought a heap," protested Uncle Sheba, rousing 
himself a little. 

" Mighty little arter de mor'giges an' taxes was paid. 
Didn't I help dem pack up what dey tink dey could sabe, 
and see poah Missy Mara wrung her ban's as she gib up dis 
ting an' dat ting till at las' she cry right out, ' Mought as 
well gib up eberyting. Why don't dey kill us too, like dey 
did all our folks ? ' You used to be so hot fer dat ole 
Guv'ner Moses and say he was like de Moses in de Bible, — 
dat he was raised up fer ter lead de culled people to de 
promise' Ian'. You vote fer him, an' hurrah fer him, an' 
whar's yer promise' Ian'? Little you know 'bout Scripter 
when you say he secon' Moses. Don' want no more sich 
Moseses in dis town. Dey wouldn't lebe a brick heah ef 
dey could take dem off. He'n his tribe got away wid 'bout 
all ole Missus' and young Missus' prop'ty in my 'pinion. 
Anyhow I feels it in my bones dey's poah, an' I mus' try an' 
fin' out. Dey's so proud dey'd starbe fore dey'd let on." 


" 'Spose you does fin' out, what kin you do ? You gwine 
ter buy back de big house fer dem? " 

" I'se not de one ter talk big 'bout what I'se gwine ter 
do," repUed Aun' Sheba, nodding her head portentously as 
she knocked the ashes from her pipe and prepared for the 
remaining tasks of the evening. 

Her husband's self-interest took alarm at once, and he 
began to hitch uneasily on his chair. At last he broke out. 
" Now look heah, Aun' Sheba, you'se got suffin on you' min' 
'bout dem white folks " — 

" Dem white folks ! Who you talkin' 'bout?" 

"Well, dey ain't none o' our flesh an' blood, and de 
Bible say shuah dat dey dat don' pen'ide fer dere own flesh 
an' blood am wuss dan a inferdel." 

" Den I reckon you'se an inferdel, Mister Buggone," 
retorted Aun' Sheba, severely. 

" I'se not," retorted her husband, assuming much solem- 
nity, " I'se a 'umble an' 'flicted sarbent ob de Lawd, an' it's 
my duty to 'monstrate wid you. I know what's on you' 
min'. You'se gwine ter do fer dem white folks when you 
got all you kin do now." 

" Mister Buggone, don' you call Missy Mara white folks 
no mo'." 

"Well, ain't she white folks? Didn't I slabe fer her 
granpar yeahs an' yeahs, an' wat I got ter show fer 't? " 

" You got no stripes on you back, an' you'd had plenty 
ter show ef you'd wuked fer any oder man. I 'member all 
about you slabin' an' how de good major use' to let you off. 
You know, too, dat he war so took up wid his book dat you 
could do foolishness right uner his nose. An' dar was my 
poah young Missy Mary, who hadn't de heart to hurt a 
skeeter. You s'pose I watch ober dat broken-hearted lam' 
an' her little chile an' den heah 'em called white folks, as if 
dey'se no 'count ter me ? How ofen dat poah dyin' lam' 


turn to mc in de middle ob de night an' say ter me, Sheba, 
you will took keer on my chile ef it libe, an' I say to her 
'fore de Lawd dat I would. An' I did too. Dat po' little 
moderless and faderless chile lay on my bosom till I lubed 
it fer hersef, and Missy Mara neber gwine to hab trubble 
when I ain't dar." 

Aun' Sheba's voice had been reaching a higher and 
higher key under the influence of reminiscence and indig- 
nation. Although her husband was in dire trepidation he 
felt that this point was too serious to be yielded without a 
desperate effort. He had been put on short allowance once 
before when his wife had gone to help take care of Mara 
in a severe illness, and now he had a presentiment that 
Aun' Sheba would try to help support the girl and her great- 
aunt as well as himself. Such an attempt threatened priva- 
tions which were harrowing even to contemplate, and in a 
sort of desperation he resolved once more to assert his 
marital position. "Aun' Sheba," he began with much 
dignity, " I'se been bery easy an' bendin' like ter you. I'se 
gib you you'se own head dead agin de principles ob Scripter 
which say dat de husban' am de head ob de wife " — 

" Mister Buggone," interrupted Aun' Sheba in a passion 
which was bursting all restraint, *' you'se wrestin' scripter to 
you'se own 'struction. Ef you am de head ob dis fam'ly, 
I'se gwine ter sit down an' fole my bans, an you can jes' git 
out an' earn my libin' an' yours too. Git up dar now, an' 
bring in de wood an' de kinlin' fer de mawnin', an' when 
mawnin' come, you make de fiah. Arter breakfas' you 
start right off ter work, and I'se sit on de do' step and talk 
to de neighbos. You shall hab all de headin ob de house 
you wants, but you can't hab de 'sition widout de 'sponsi- 
bilities. I'se gwine now to take a res' an' be 'sported," and 
the irate wife filled her pipe, sat down and smoked furiously. 

Uncle Sheba was appalled at the result of his Scriptural 


argument. He would like to be king by divine right 
without any responsibilities. His one thought now was to 
escape until the storm blew over and his wife's tolerant 
good nature resumed its wonted sway. Shuffling cautiously 
around to the door he remarked meekly as he held it ajar, 
" I reckon I'll drap in at de prar-meetin', fer I tole brudder 
Simpkins I'd gib dem a lif ' dis ebenin'." 

His heart misgave him as he heard his wife bound up 
and bolt the door after him, but he was a philosopher who 
knew the value of time in remedying many of the ills of life. 
It must be admitted that he could not get into the spirit of 
the meeting, and Brother Simpkins remarked rather severely 
at its close, "Mister Buggone, I'se feared you'se zeal am 

Uncle Sheba's forebodings increased as he saw that his 
house was dark, and he fell into something like panic 
when he found that the door was still bolted. He knocked 
gently at first, then louder and louder, adding to the uproar 
by calls and expostulations. A light appeared in the adja- 
cent cottage, and Kern Watson, his son-in-law, came out. 
"Wat de matter now, Uncle Sheba?" he asked. "Does 
yer wan' ter bring de perlice? You'se been takin' a drap 
too much agin, I reckon." 

" No, I'se only been to prar-meetin', and Aun' Sheba jes' 
dun gone and bolt me out." 

" Well, you'se been cuttin' up some shine, an' dat's a fac'. 
Come in an' stop you noise. You can sleep on de lounge. 
We don' want to pay ten dollahs in de mawnin to get you 
out ob de caboose." 

Uncle Sheba was glad to avail himself of this rather 
equivocal hospitahty, and eagerly sought to win Kern's 
sympathy by relating his grievance. His son-in-law leaned 
against the chimney-side that he might, in his half-dressed 
condition, enjoy the warmth of the coals covered with ashes 


on the hearth, and hstened. He was a tall, straight negro 
of powerful build, and although his features were African, 
they were not gross in character. The candle on the mantle 
near him brought out his profile in fine silhouette, while his 
quiet steady eyes indicated a nature not stirred by trifles. 

" You'se a 'publican, Kern, an' you knows dat we culled 
people got ter take keer ob ourselves." 

"Yes, I'se a Repubhcan," said Kern, "but wat dat got 
ter do wid dis matter? Is Aun' Sheba gwine ter take any 
ob your money ? Ef she set her heart on helpin' her ole 
Missus an' young Missy an' arn de money herself, whose 
business is it but hers? I'se a Republican because I belebe 
in people bein' free, wedder dey is white or black, but I 
ain't one ob dem kin' ob Republicans dat look on white folks 
as inemies. Wot we do widout dem, an' wat dey do widout 
us? All talk ob one side agin de toder is fool talk. Ef 
dere's any prosperity in dis Ian' we got ter pull tergedder. 
You'se free. Uncle Sheba, an' dere ain't a man in Charleston 
dat kin hender you from goin' to work termorrow." 

" I reckon I'se try ter git a wink ob slepe, Kern," 
responded Uncle Sheba plaintively. " My narbes been so 
shook up dat my rheumatiz will be po'ful bad for a spell." 

Kern knew the futility of further words, and also betook 
himself to rest. 

With x'\un' Sheba, policy had taken the place of passion. 
Through a knot-hole in her cabin she had seen her husband 
admitted to her son-in-law's dwelling, and so her mind was 
at rest. " Unc," she muttered, " forgits his 'sper'ence at de 
prar-meetin's bery easy, but he mus' have a 'sper'ence to- 
night dat he won't forgit. I neber so riled in my bawn days. 
Ef he tinks I can sit heah and see him go'mandizin' when 
my honey lam' Mara hungry, he'll fin' out." 

Before the dawn of the following day, Uncle Sheba had 
had time for many second thoughts, and when his wife 


opened the door he brought in plenty of kindlings and 
wood. Aun' Sheba accepted these marks of submission in 
grim silence, resolving that peace and serenity should come 
about gradually. She relented so far, however, as to give 
him an extra slice of bacon for breakfast, at which token of 
returning toleration Uncle Sheba took heart again. Having 
curtly told him to clear the table, Aun' Sheba proceeded to 
make from the finest of flour the dehcate cakes which she 
always sold fresh and almost warm from her stove, and before 
starting out on her vending tour of the streets, the store-room 
was locked against the one burglar she feared. 



ON the same evening which witnessed Uncle Sheba's 
false step and its temporarily disastrous results, Owen 
Clancy sat brooding over his fire in his bachelor apartment. 
If his sitting-room did not suggest wealth, it certainly indi- 
cated refined and intellectual tastes and a fair degree of 
prosperity. A few fine pictures were on the walls, an 
unusually well selected library, although a small one, was in 
a book-case, while upon the table lay several of the best 
magazines and reviews of the period. Above the mantle 
was suspended a cavalry sabre, its scabbard so dented as to 
suggest that it had seen much and severe service. Young 
Clancy's eyes were fixed upon it, and his revery was so deep 
that a book fell from his hand to the floor without his notice. 
His thoughts, however, were dwelling upon a young girl. 
Strange that a deadly weapon should be allied to her in 
association. Yet so it was. He never could look upon that 
sabre which his father had used effectively throughout the 
Civil War, without thinking of Mara Wallingford. Neither 
this object nor any other was required to produce thoughts 
of her, for he passed few waking hours in which she was not 
present to his fancy. He loved her sincerely, and felt that 
she knew it, and he also hoped that she concealed a deeper 
regard for him than she would admit even to herself. 
Indeed he almost beheved that if he could share fully with 
her all the ideas and antipathies symbolized by the battered 

MARA. 25 

scabbard before him, his course of love would run smoothly. 
It was just at this point that the trouble between them arose. 
She was looking back; he, forward. He could not enter 
into her sad and bitter retrospection, feeling that this was 
morbid and worse than useless. Remembering how cruelly 
she and her kindred had suffered, he made great allowances 
for her, and had often tried to soften the bitterness in her 
heart by reminding her that he, too, had lost kindred and 
property. By delicate efforts he had sought to show the 
futility of clinging to a dead past, and a cause lost beyond 
hope, but Mara would only become grave and silent when 
such matters were touched upon. 

Clancy had been North repeatedly on business, and had 
never discovered a particle of hostihty towards him or his 
section in the men with whom he dealt and associated. 
They invited him to their homes ; he met the women of 
their families, from whom he often received rather more 
than courtesy, for his fine appearance and a certain courtli- 
ness of manner, inherited from his aristocratic father, had 
won a thinly veiled admiration of which he had been agree- 
ably conscious. Since these people had no controversy 
with him, how could he continue to cherish enmity and 
prejudice against them ? His warm Southern nature revolted 
at receiving hearty good will and not returning it in kind. 
There was nothing of a " we-forgive-you " in the bearing of 
his Northern acquaintances, nor was there any effusiveness 
in cordiality with an evident design of reassuring him. He 
was made to feel that he was guilty of an anachronism in 
brooding over the war, that it had been forgotten except as 
history, and that the present with its opportunities, and the 
future with its promise, were the themes of thought. The 
elements of life, energy, hopefulness with which he came in 
contact had appealed to him powerfully, for they were 
in harmony with his youth, ambition, yes, and his patriot- 


ism. •■'The South can never grow rich and strong by 
sulking," he had often assured himself, " and since the old 
dream is impossible, and we are to be one people, why 
shouldn't we accept the fact and unite in mutual helpful- 

Reason, ambition, and policy prompted him to the di- 
vergence of view and action which was alienating Mara. 
" Imitation of her example and spirit would be political and 
financial suicide on our part," he broke out. " I love her ; 
and if she loved in the same degree, I would be more to 
her than bitter memories. She would help me achieve a 
happy future for us both. As it is, I am so pulled in differ- 
ent ways that I'm half insane," and with contracted brow he 
sprung up and paced the floor. 

But he could not hold to this mood long, and soon his 
face softened into an expression of anxiety and commisera- 
tion. Resuming his chair his thoughts ran on, "She isn't 
happy either. For some cause I reckon she suffers more 
than I do. She looked pale to-day when I met her, and 
her face was full of anxiety until she saw me, and then it 
masked all feeling. She has worn that same cloak now for 
three winters. Great Heaven ! if she should be in want, and 
I not know it ! Yet what could I do if she were ? Why will 
she be so proud and obdurate ? I beUeve that gaunt, white- 
haired aunt has more to do with her course than her own 
heart. Well, I can't sit here and think about it any longer. 
If I see her something may become clearer, and I must see 
her before I go North again." 

Mara Wallingford's troubles and anxieties had indeed 
been culminating of late. Almost her sole inheritance had 
been sadness, trouble and enmity. Not only had her un- 
happy mother's history been kept fresh in her memory by 
her great-aunt, Mrs. Hunter, but the very blood that coursed 
in her veins and the soul that looked out from her dark, 

MA/iA. 27 

melancholy eyes had received from that mother character- 
istics which it is of the province of this story to reveal. 
To poor Mary Wallingford, the death of her father and of 
her husband had been the unspeakable tragedy and wrong 
which had destroyed her life ; and the long agony of the 
mother had deprived her offspring of the natural and joy- 
ous impulses of childhood and youth. If Mara had been 
left to the care of a judicious guardian, — one who had 
sought by all wholesome means to counteract inherited 
tendencies, a more cheerful and hopeful life would have 
been developed, but in this respect the girl had been most 
unfortunate. The mind grows by what it feeds upon, and 
Mrs. Hunter's spirit had become so imbittered by dwelling 
upon her woes and losses that she was incapable of thinking 
or speaking of much else. She had never been a woman of 
warm, quick sympathies. She had seen little of the world, 
and, in a measure, was incapable of seeing it, whatever 
advantages she might have had. This would have been 
true of her, no matter where her lot had been cast, for she 
was a born conservative. What she had been brought up 
to believe would always be true ; what she had been made 
familiar with by early custom would always be right, and 
any thing different would be viewed with disapproval or 
intoleration. Too little allowance is often made for charac- 
ters of this kind. We may regret rigidity and narrowness 
all we please, but there should be some respect for down- 
right sincerity and the inability to see both sides of a 

It often happens that if natures are narrow they are 
correspondingly intense ; and this was true of Mrs. Hunter. 
She idolized her husband dead, more perhaps than if he 
had been living. Her brother and nephew were household 
martyrs, and little Mara had been taught to revere their 
memories as a devout Catholic pays homage to a patron 


saint. Between the widow and all that savored of the 
North, the author of her woes, there was a great gulf, and 
the changes wrought by the passing years had made no 
impression, for she would not change. She simply shut her 
eyes and closed her ears to whatever was not in accord with 
her own implacable spirit. She grew cold towards those 
who yielded to the kindly influences of peace and the heal- 
ing balm of time ; she had bitter scorn for such as were led 
by their interests to fraternize with the North and Northern 
people. In her indiscrimination and prejudice they were all 
typified by the unscrupulous adventurers who had made a 
farce of government and legally robbed the South when 
prostrate and bleeding after the War. She and her niece 
had been taxed out of their home to sustain a rule they 
loathed. Not a few women in Boston, in like circumstances, 
would be equally bitter and equally incapable of taking the 
broad views of an historian. 

The influence of such a concentrated mind, warped 
almost to the point of monomania, upon a child like Mara, 
predisposed from birth to share in a similar spirit, can be 
readily estimated. Peace and time, moreover, had not 
brought the ameliorating tendencies of prosperity, but rather 
a continuous and hopeless pressure of poverty. 

Mrs. Hunter had been incapable of doing more than save 
what she could out of the wreck of their fortunes. There 
were no near relations, and those remaining, with most of 
their friends and acquaintances who had not been alienated, 
were struggling like themselves in straitened circumstances. 
Yet out of this poverty, many open, generous hands would 
have been stretched to the widow and her ward had they 
permitted their want to be known. But they felt that they 
would rather starve than do this, for they belonged to that 
class which suff'ers in proud silence. Although they had 
practised an economy that was so severe as to be detri- 

MARA. 29 

mental to both health and character, tlieir principal had 
melted away, and their jewelry and plate, with the excep- 
tion of heirlooms that could not be sold without a sense of 
sacrilege, had been quietly disposed of. The end of their 
resources was near, and they knew not what to do. Mara 
had tried to eke out their means by fancy-work, but she had 
no great aptitude for such tasks, and her education was too 
defective and old-fashioned for the equipment of a modern 
teacher. She was well read, especially in the classics, yet 
during the troubled years of her brief life she had not been 
given the opportunity to acquire the solid, practical knowl- 
edge which would enable her to instruct others. The exclu- 
siveness and seclusion, so congenial to her aunt, had been 
against her, and now reticence and a disposition to shrink 
from the world had become a characteristic of her own. 

She felt, however, that her heart, if not her will, was weak 
towards Owen Clancy. In him had once centred the hope 
of her life, and from him she now feared a wound that could 
never heal. 

She underrated his affection as he did hers. He felt 
that she should throw off the incubus of the past for his 
sake ; she believed that any depth of love on his part should 
render impossible all intercourse with the North beyond 
what was strictly necessary for the transaction of business. 
In order to soften her prejudices, he had told her of his 
social experiences in New York, and, as a result, had seen 
her face harden against him. . . . She had no words of 
bitter scorn such as her aunt had indulged in when learning 
of the fact. She had only thought in sorrow that since he 
was " capable of accepting hospitality from the people 
who had murdered her kindred and blighted the South, 
there was an impassable gulf between them." 

Now, however, the imperative questions of bread and 
shelter were uppermost. She believed that Clancy could 


and would solve these questions at once if permitted, and it 
was characteristic of her pride and what she regarded as her 
loyalty, that she never once allowed herself to think of this 
alternative. Yet what could she and her aunt do ? They 
were in the pathetic position of gentlewomen compelled to 
face the world with unskilled hands. This is bad enough af 
best, but far worse when hands are half paralyzed by pride 
and timidity as well as ignorance. The desperate truth, 
however, stared them in the face. Do something they must, 
and that speedily. 

They were contemplating the future in a hopeless sort of 
dread and perplexity on the evening when Aun' Sheba and 
young Clancy's thoughts were drawn towards them in such 
deep solicitude. This fact involves no mystery. The warm- 
hearted colored woman had seen and heard little things 
which suggested the truth, and the sympathetic lover had 
seen the face of the young girl when she was off her guard. 
Its expression had haunted him, and impelled him to see her 
at once, although she had chilled his hopes of late. 

When compelled to leave the old home, Mrs. Hunter had 
taken the second floor of a small brick house located on a 
side street. In spite of herself Mara's heart fluttered wildly 
for a moment when the woman who occupied the first story 
brought up Clancy's card. 

"You can't see him to-night," said her aunt, frowning. 

Mara hesitated a moment, and then said firmly, " Yes, I 
will see him. Please ask him to come up." When they 
were alone, she added in a low voice, " I shall see him once 
more, probably for the last time socially. We cannot know 
what changes are in store for us." 

" Well, I won't see him," said Mrs. Hunter frigidly ; and 
she left the room. 




UNDER the impulses of his solicitude and affection 
Clancy entered quickly, and took Mara's hand in such 
a strong, warm grasp that the color would come into her pale 
face. In spite of her peculiarities and seeming coldness, 
she was a girl who could easily awaken a passionate love in 
a warm, generous-hearted man like the one who looked into 
her eyes with something like entreaty in his own. She had 
a beauty peculiar to herself, and now a strange loveliness 
which touched his very soul. The quick flush upon her 
cheeks inspired hope, and a deep emotion, which she could 
not wholly suppress, found momentary expression. Even 
in that brief instant she was transfigured, for the woman 
within her was revealed. As if conscious of a weakness 
which seemed to her almost criminal, her face became rigid, 
and she said formally, " Please be seated, Mr. Clancy." 

" You must not speak to me in that way and in that tone," 
he began impetuously, and then paused, for he was chilled 
by her cold, questioning gaze. Her will was so strong, and 
found such powerful expression in her dark, sad eyes, that 
for a moment he was dumb and embarrassed. Then his 
own high spirit rallied, and a purpose grew strong that she 
should hear him, and hear the truth also. His gray eyes, 
that had wavered for a moment, grew steady in their en- 
counter with hers. 

Seating himself on the opposite side of the table, he said 


quietly, " You think I have no right to speak to you in such 
a way." 

" I fear we think differently on many subjects, Mr. Clancy." 

" Admitting that, would you like a man to be a weak echo 
of yourself? " 

" A man should not be weak in any respect. I do not 
think it necessary, however, to raise the question of my likes 
or dishkes." 

" 1 must differ with you, Mara," he replied gravely. 

"I agree with you now, fully, Mr. Clancy. We differ. 
Had we not better change the subject ? " 

" No, not unless you would be unfair. I am at a disad- 
vantage. I am in your home. You are a lady, and therefore 
can compel me to leave unsaid what I am bent on saying. 
We have been friends, have we not? " 

She bowed her acquiescence. 

" Well," he continued a little bitterly, " I have one South- 
ern trait left — frankness. You know I would speak in a 
different character if permitted, if I received one particle 
of encouragement." Then, with a sudden flush, he said 
firmly, " I will speak as I feel. I only pay homage in telling 
you what you must already know. I love you, and would 
make you my wife." 

Her face became very pale as she averted it, and replied 
briefly, "You are mistaken, Mr. Clancy." 

"Mara, I am not mistaken. Will you be fair enough to 
listen to me ? We agree that we differ. Can we not also 
agree that we differ conscientiously ? You cannot think me 
false, even though you say I am mistaken. Hitherto you 
have opposed to me a dead wall of silence. Though you 
will not listen to me as a lover, you might both listen and 
speak to me as a friend. That word would be hollow 
indeed if estrangement could result from honest differences 
of opinion." 


"It is far more than a difference of opinion." 
" Let the difference be what it may, Mara," he answered 
gently, resolving not to be baffled, " if you are so sure you 
are right, you should at least be willing to accord to one 
whom you once regarded as a friend the privilege of plead- 
ing his cause. Truth and right do not intrench themselves 
in repelling silence. That is the refuge of prejudice. If 
you will hear my side of the question, I will listen with 
the deepest interest to yours, and beUeve me you have a 
powerful ally in my heart." 

" Your head has gained such ascendency over your heart, 
Mr. Clancy, that you cannot understand me. In some 
women the strongest reasons for or against a thing proceed 
from the latter organ." 

" Is yours, then, so cold towards me ? " he asked sadly. 
"It is not cold towards the memory of my murdered 
parents," she replied with an ominous flash in her eyes. 

Clancy looked at her in momentary surprise, then said 
firmly, " My father eventually died from injuries received 
in the war, but he was not murdered. He was wounded in 
fair battle in which he struck as well as received blows." 

Again there was a quick flush upon her pale face, but 
now it was one of indignation as she said bitterly, " Fair 
battle ! So you call it fair battle when men are overpowered 
in defending their homes. If armed robbers broke into 
your house, and you gave blows as well as received them, 
would you not be murdered if it so happened that you 
were killed? Why should we speak of these subjects 
further? " And there was a trace of scorn in her tone. 

His pride was touched, and he was all the more deter- 
mined that he would be heard. "I can give you good 
reason why we should speak further," he answered reso- 
lutely yet quietly. " However strong your feeling may be, I 
have too much respect for your intelligence and too much 


confidence in your courage to believe that you will weakly 
shrink from hearing one who is as conscientious as yourself. 
I cannot accept your illustration, and do not think the 
instance you give is parallel. In the differences between 
the North and the South, an appeal was made to the sword. 
If I had been old enough I would have fought at my father's 
side. But the question is now settled. No matter how we 
feel about it, the North and the South must live together, 
and it is not my nature to live in hate. Suppose I could — 
suppose it were possible for all Southern men to feel as you 
do and act in accordance with such bitter enmity, what 
would be the result? It would be suicide. Our land 
would become a desert. Capital and commerce would 
leave our cities because there would be no security among 
a people implacably hostile. Such a course would be more 
destructive than invading armies. My business, the busi- 
ness of the city, is largely with the North. If native 
Southern men tried to transact it in a cold relentless spirit, 
we should lose the chance to live, much less to do any thing 
for our land. We have suffered too much from this course 
already, and have allowed strangers, who care nothing for 
us, to take much that might have been ours. I love the 
South too well to advocate a course which would prove so 
fatal. What is more, I cannot think it would be right. The 
North of your imagination does not exist. I cannot hate 
people who have no hate for me, but on the contrary abound 
in honest, kindly feeling." 

She had listened quietly with her face turned from him, 
and now met his eyes with an inscrutable expression in 
hers. " Have I not listened ? " she asked. 

" But you have not answered," he urged, " you have not 
even tried to show me wherein I am wrong." 

The eyes whose sombre blackness had been like a veil 
now flamed with the anger she had long repressed. " How 


little you understand me," she said passionately, "when you 
think I can argue questions like these. You are virtually 
asking what to me is sacrilege. I have listened to you 
patiently, at what cost to my feelings you are incapable of 
knowing. Do you think that I can forget that my grand- 
father was mangled to death, and that his last words were, 
' I was only trying to defend my home ' ? Do you think I 
can forget that my father was trampled into the very earth 
by your Northern friends with whom you must fraternize as 
well as trade? I will not speak of my martyred mother. 
Her name and agony are too sacred to be named in a 
political argument," and she uttered these last words with 
intense bitterness. Then rising to end the interview, she 
continued coldly in biting sarcasm, " Mr. Clancy, I have no 
relations with the North. I do not deal in cotton, and 
none of its fibre has found its way into my nature." 

At these words he flushed hotly, sprung up, but by an 
evident and powerful effort controlled himself, and sat down 

" How could you even imagine," she added, " that 
words, arguments, political and financial consideration^: 
would tempt me to be disloyal to the memory of my dead 

" You are disloyal to them," he said firmly. 

" What ! " 

" Mara, I am indeed proving myself a friend because I 
am such and more, and because you so greatly need a 
friend. Your kindred had hearts in their breasts. Would 
they doom you to the life upon which you are entering? 
Can you not see that you are passing deeper and deeper 
into the shadow of the past ? What good can it do them ? 
Could they speak would they say, * We wish our sorrows to 
blight your life ' ? You are not happy, you cannot be happy. 
It is contrary to the law of God, it is impossible to human 


nature, that happiness and bitter, unrelenting enmity should 
exist in the same heart. You are not only unhappy, but 
you are in deep trouble of some kind. I saw that from 
your face to-day before you saw me and could mask from a 
friend its expression of deep anxiety. You shall hear the 
truth from me which I fear you hear from no other, and 
your harsh words shall not deter me from my resolute pur- 
pose to be kind, to rescue you virtually from a condition 
of mind that is so morbid, so unhealthful, that it will blight 
your hfe. I cannot so MTong your father and mother as 
even to imagine that it could be their wish to see your 
beautiful young life grow more and more shadowed, to see 
you struggling under burdens which strong, loving hands 
would lift from you. Can you believe that they, happy in 
heaven, can wish you no happiness on earth ? " 

There was a grave, convincing earnestness in his tone, 
and a truth in his words hard to resist. What she consid- 
ered loyalty to her kindred had been like her religion, and 
he had charged her with disloyalty, yes, and while he spoke 
the thought would assert itself that her course might be a 
wretched mistake. Although intrenched in prejudice, and 
fortified against his words by the thought and feeling of her 
life, she had been made to doubt her position and feel that 
she might be a self-elected martyr. The assertion that she 
was doing what would be contrary to the wishes of her 
dead kindred pierced the very citadel of her opposition, 
and tended to remove the one belief which had been the 
sustaining rock beneath her feet. She knew she had been 
severe with him, and she was touched by his forbearance, 
his resolute purpose to befriend her. She remembered her 
poverty, the almost desperate extremity in which she was, 
and her heart upbraided her for refusing the hand held out 
so loyally and persistently to her help>. She became con- 
fused, torn, and over\vhelmed by conflicting emotions ; her 


lip quivered, and, bowing her head in her hands, she sobbed, 
"You are breaking my heart." 

In an instant he was on one knee at her side. " Mara," 
he began gently, '-'if I wound it is only that I may heal. 
Truly no girl in this city needs a friend as you do. For 
some reason I feel this to be true in my very soul. Who in 
God's universe would forbid you a loyal friend?" and he 
tried to take her hand. 

" I forbid you to be her friend," said a stern voice. 

Springing up, Clancy encountered the gaze of a gaunt, 
white-haired woman, with implacable enmity stamped upon 
her thin visage. The young man's eyes darkened as they 
steadily met those of Mrs. Hunter, and it was evident that 
the forbearance he had manifested towards the girl he loved 
would not be extended to her guardian. Still he controlled 
himself, and waited till she should speak again. 

"■ Mr. Clancy," she resumed after a moment, " Miss 
Wallingford is my ward; I received her from her dying 
mother, and so have rights which you must respect. I for- 
bid your seeing her or speaking to her again." 

" Mrs. Hunter," he replied, " permit me to tell you with 
the utmost courtesy, that I shall not obey you. Only Mara 
herself can forbid me from seeing her or speaking to her." 

" What right have you, sir " — 

" The best of rights, Mrs. Hunter, I love the girl ; you do 
not. As remorselessly as a graven image you would sacri- 
fice her on the altar of your hate." 

"Mr. Clancy, you must not speak to my aunt in that 
way. She has been devoted to me from my infancy." 

" On the contrary, she has devoted you from infancy to 
sadness, gloom, and bitter memories. She is developing 
within you the very qualities most foreign to a woman's 
heart. Instead of teaching you to enshrine the memory 
of your kindred in tender, loving remembrance, she is 


forging that memory into a chain to restrain you from all 
that IS natural to your years. She is teaching you to wreck 
your life in fruitless opposition to the healing influences that 
have followed peace. Madam, answer me, — the question 
is plain and fair, — what can you hope to accomplish by 
your enmity to me and to the principles of hope and prog- 
ress which, in this instance, I represent, but the blighting 
of this girl whom I love? " 

"You are insolent, sir," cried Mrs. Hunter, trembling 
with rage. 

" No, madam, I am honest, and be the result to me what 
it may, you shall both hear the truth to-night." 

" This is our home," was the harsh response, " and you 
are not a gentleman if you do not leave it instantly." 

"I shall certainly do so. Mara, am I to see you and 
speak to you no more? " 

She had sunk into a chair, and again buried her face in 
her hands. 

He waited a moment, but she gave no sign. Then with 
his eyes fixed on her he sadly and slowly left the apartment. 

At last she sprung up with the faint cry, " Owen," but 
her aunt stood between her and the door, and he was gone. 




WHEN Mara realized that her lover had indeed gone, 
that in fact he had been driven forth, and that she 
had said not one word to pave'the way for a future meeting, 
a sense of desolation she had never known before, over- 
whelmed her. Hitherto she had been sustained by an 
unfaltering belief that no other course than the one which 
her aunt had inculcated was possible ; that, cost what it 
might, and end as it might, it was her heritage. All now 
was confused and in doubt. She had heard her lofty, self- 
sacrificing purpose virtually characterized as vain and wrong. 
She had idolized the memory of her father and mother, and 
yet had been told that her course was the very one of which 
they would not approve. The worst of it all was that it now 
seemed true, for she could not believe that they would wish 
her to be so utterly unhappy. In spite of her unworldliness 
and lack of practical training, the strong common sense of 
Clancy's question would recur, "What good will it do?" 
She was not sacrificing her heart to sustain or further any 
cause, and her heart now cried out against the wrong it was 
receiving. These miserable thoughts rushed through her 
mind and pressed so heavily upon all hope that she leaned 
her arms upon the table, and, burying her face, sobbed aloud. 

"Mara," said her aunt, severely, "I did not think you 
could be so weak." 

Until the storm of passionate grief passed, the young girl 


gave no heed to Mrs. Hunter's reproaches or expostulations. 
At last she became quiet, as much from exhaustion as from 
self-control, and said wearily, " You need worry no further 
about Mr. Clancy. He will not come agam. If he has a 
spark of pride or manhood left, he will never look at me 
again," and a quick, heart-broken sob would rise at the 

" I should hope you would not look at him again after his 
insolence to me." 

Mara did not reply. For the first time her confidence in 
her aunt had been shaken, for she could not but feel that 
Mrs. Hunter, in her judgment of Clancy, saw but one side 
of the question. She did not approve of his stern arraign- 
ment of her aunt, but she at least remembered his great 
provocation, and that he had been impelled to his harsh 
words by loyalty to her. 

At last she said, " Aunty, I'm too worn out to think or 
speak any more to-night. There is a limit to endurance, 
and I've reached it." 

"That's just where the trouble is," Mrs. Hunter tried to 
say re-assuringly. " In the morning you will be your own 
true, brave self again." 

"What's the use of being brave; what can I be brave 
for?" thought Mara in the solitude of her room. 

Although her sleep was brief and troubled, she had time 
to grow calm and collect her thoughts. While she would 
not admit it to herself, Clancy's repeated assertions of his 
love had a subtle and sustaining power. She could see no 
light in the future, but her woman's heart would revert to 
this truth as to a secret treasure. 

In the morning after sitting for a time almost in silence 
over their meagre breakfast, her aunt began, " Mara, I wish 
you to realize the truth in regard to Mr. Clancy. It is one 
of those things which must be nipped in the bud. There 

" FA HNASHIP. " 4 1 

is only one ending to his path, and that is full acceptance 
of Northern rule and Northern people. What is more, after 
his words to me, I will never abide under the same roof with 
him again." 

. '' Aunty," said Mara sadly, "we have much else to think 
about besides Mr. Clancy. How are we going to keep a 
roof over our own heads? " 

Compelled to face their dire need, Mrs. Hunter broke 
out into bitter invective against those whom she regarded as 
the cause of their poverty. 

"Aunty," protested Mara, almost irritably, for her nerves 
were sadly worn, "what good can such words do? We 
must live, I suppose, and you must advise me." 

" Mara, I am almost tempted to believe that you regret" — 

" Aunty, you must fix your mind on the only question to 
be considered. What are we to do ? You know our money 
is almost gone." 

Mrs. Hunter's only response was to stare blankly at her 
niece. She could economize and be content with very little 
as long as her habitual trains of thought were not interrupted 
and she could maintain her proud seclusion. Accustomed 
to remote plantation life, she knew little of the ways of the 
modern world, and much less of the methods by which a 
woman could obtain a livelihood from it. To the very 
degree that she had lived in the memories and traditions of 
the past, she had unfitted herself to understand the condi- 
tions of present life or to cope with its requirements. Now 
she was practically helpless. " We can't go and reveal our 
situation to our friends," she began hesitatingly. 

" Certainly not," said Mara, " for most of them have all 
they can do to sustain themselves, and I would rather starve 
than live on the charity of those on whom we have no 

" We might take less expensive rooms." 


" What good would that do, Aunty ? If we can't earn 
any thing, five dollars will be as hard to raise as ten." 

" Oh, to think that people of the very best blood in the 
State, who once had scores of slaves to work for them, should 
be so wronged, robbed and reduced ! " 

Mara heaved a long, weary sigh, and Clancy's words would 
repeat themselves again and again. She saw how utterly 
incapable her aunt was to render any assistance in their des- 
perate straits. Even the stress of their present emergency 
could not prevent her mind from vainly reverting to a past 
that was gone forever. Again her confidence was more 
severely shaken as she was compelled to doubt the wisdom 
of their habits of seclusion and reticence, of living on from 
year to year engrossed by memories, instead of adapting 
themselves to a new order of things which they were power- 
less to prevent. " Truly," she thought, " ray father and 
mother never could have wished me to be in this situation 
out of love for them. It is true I could never go to the 
length that he does without great hypocrisy, and I do not 
see the need of it. I can never forget the immense wrong 
done to me and mine, but Aunty should have taught me 
something more than indignation and hostility, however just 
the causes for them may be." 

While such was the tenor of her thoughts, she only said a 
little bitterly, " Oh, that I knew how to do something ! My 
old nurse, Aun' Sheba, is better off than we are." 

"She belongs to us yet," said Mrs. Hunter, almost 

" You could never make her or anyone else think so," 
was the weary reply. " Well, now that I have thought of her, 
I believe I could advise with her better than any one else." 

" Advise with a slave ? O, Mara ! — • " 

"Whom shall I advise with then?" And there was a 
sharp ring in the girl's tone. 


" Oh, any one, so that it be not Mr. Clancy," repUed her 
aunt irritably. " Were it not that you so needed a protector, 
I could wish that I were dead." 

"Aunty," said Mara, gently, yet firmly, "we must give up 
this hopeless, bitter kind of talk. I, at least, must do some- 
thing to earn honest bread, and I am too depressed and sad 
at heart to carry any useless burdens. Mr. Clancy said 
much that was wrong last night, and there are matters 
about which he and I can never agree, but surely he was 
right in saying that my father and mother would not wish to 
see me crushed body and soul. If I am to live, I must find 
a way to live and yet keep my self-respect. I suppose the 
natural way would be to go to those who knew my father 
and grandfather ; but they would ask me what I could do. 
What could I tell them ? It would seem almost like asking 

" Of course it would," assented her aunt. 

Then silence fell between them. 

Before Mara could finish her morning duties and prepare 
for the street, a heavy step was heard on the stairs, then a 
knock at the door. Opening it, the young girl saw the very 
object of her thoughts, for Aun' Sheba's ample form and 
her great basket filled all the space. 

" O, Aun' Sheba," cried the girl, a gleam of hope lighting 
up her eyes, " I'm so glad to see you. I was just starting 
for your cabin." 

" Bress your heart, honey, Aun' Sheba'll alus be proud to 
hab you come. My spec's, Missus," and she dropped her 
basket and a courtesy before Mrs. Hunter. 

" Aun' Sheba," said Mara, giving the kindly vender a chair, 
" you are so much better off than we are. I was saying just 
that to aunty this morning." 

" Why, honey, I'se only a po' culled body, and you'se a 
beauty like you moder, bress her po' deah heart." 


" Yes, Aun' Sheba, you were a blessing to her," said Mara 
with moist eyes. *' How you watched over her and helped 
to take care of me ! Perhaps you can help take care of me 
again. For some reason, I can speak to you and tell you 
our troubles easier than to any one else in the world." 

" Dat's right, honey lam', dat's right. Who else you tell 
your troubles to but Aun' Sheba? Didn't I comfort you on 
dis bery bres time an' time agin when you was a little mite ? 
Now you'se bigger and hab bigger troubles, I'se bigger 
too," and Aunt Sheba shook with laughter like a great form 
of jelly as she wiped her eyes with sympathy. 

"Aun' Sheba," said Mara in a voice full of unconscious 
pathos, " I don't know what to do, yet I must do something. 
It seems to me that I could be almost happy if I were as 
sure of earning my bread as you are." 

" Now, doggone dat ar lazy husban' o' mine. But he got 
his 'serts an'll git mo' ob dem ef he ain't keerful. I jes' felt 
it in my bones las' night how 'twas wid you, an' I 'lowed how 
I'd see you dis mawnin', an' den he began to go on as ef you 
was nothin' but white folks stid ob my deah honey lam' dat 
I nussed till you was like my own chile. But he won' do so 
no mo'." 

" O, Aun' Sheba, beheve me, I don't wish to interfere 
with any of your duties to him," began Mara earnestly. 

" Duty to him," exclaimed the colored woman with a 
snort of indignation. " He mout tink a little 'bout his duty 
to me. Doan you trubble 'bout him, for he's boun' to git 
mo' dan his shar anyhow. Now I know de good Lawd put 
it in my min' to come heah dis mawnin' case you was on my 
min' las' night. You needn't tink you kin go hungry while 
Aun' Sheba hab a crus'." 

" I know what a big heart you've got, but that won't do, 
Aun' Sheba. Can you think I would live idly on your hard- 
earned money ? " 


"Well, 'tis my money, an' I make mo' dan you tink, an' a 
heap mo' dan I let Unc. know about. He'd be fer settin' 
up his kerrige ef he knew," and she again laughed in hearty 
self-complacency. "Why, honey, I can 'sport you an' 
Missus widout pinchin', an' who gwine to know 'bout 

" I'd know about it," said Mara rising and putting her 
hand caressingly on the woman's shoulder, " yet I feel your 
kindness in the very depths of my heart. Come, I have a 
thought. Let me see what's in your basket." 

" Ony cakes dis mawnin', honey. Help you's sef." 

" Oh, how delicious they are," said Mara eating one, and 
thoughtifuUy regarding her sable friend. "You beat me 
making cakes, Aun' Sheba, and I thought I was good at 

" So you am. Missy, so you am, fer I taught you mysef." 

"Aun' Sheba, suppose we go into partnership." 

" Pahnaship ! " ejaculated Aun' Sheba in bewilderment. 

" O, Mara ! " Mrs. Hunter expostulated indignantly. 

" Well, I suppose it would be a very one-sided affair," 
admitted the girl, blushing in a sort of honest shame. " You 
are doing well without any help from me, and don't need 
any. I'm very much like a man who wants to share in a 
good business which has already been built up, but I don't 
know how to do any thing else, and could at least learn 
better every day, and — and — I thought — I must do some- 
thing — I thought, perhaps, if I made the cakes and some 
other things, and you sold them, Aun' Sheba, you wouldn't 
have to work so hard, and — well, there might be enough 
profit for us both." 

" Now de Lawd bress you heart, honey, dar ain't no need 
ob you bhsterin' you'se pretty face ober a fiah, bakin' cakes 
an' sich. I kin " — 

" No, no, Aun' Sheba, you can't, for I won't let you." 


" Mara," protested Mrs. Hunter severely, " do you realize 
what you are saying? Suppose it became known that you 
were in — in " — but the lady could not bring herself to 
complete the humiliating sentence. 

" Yis, honey. Missus am right. De idee ! Sech quality 
as you in pahnaship wid ole Aun' Sheba ! " and she laughed 
at the preposterous relationship. 

" Perhaps it needn't be known," said Mara, daunted for a 
moment. Then the necessities in the case drove her forward, 
and, remembering that her aunt was unable to suggest or 
even contemplate any thing practicable, she said resolutely, 
" Let it be known. Others of our social rank are support- 
ing themselves, and I'm too proud to be ashamed to do it 
myself even in this humble way. What troubles me most 
is that I'm making such a one-sided offer to Aun' Sheba. 
She don't need my help at all, and I need hers so 

" Now see heah, honey, is you heart set on dis ting?" 

" Yes, it is," replied Mara earnestly. " My heart was 
like lead till you came, and it would be almost as light as 
one of these cakes if I knew I could surely earn my living. 
Oh, Aun' Sheba, you've had troubles, and you know what 
sore troubles my poor mother had, but neither you nor she 
ever knew the fear, the sickening dread which comes over 
one when you don't know where your bread is to come from 
or how you are to keep a roof over your head. Aunty, do 
listen to reason. Making cake and other things for Aun' 
Sheba to sell would not be half so humiliating as going to 
people of my own station and revealing my ignorance, or 
trying to do what I don't know how to do, knowing all the 
time that I was only tolerated. My plan leaves me in seclu- 
sion, and if any one thinks less of me they can leave me 
alone. I don't want to make my way among strangers ; I 
don't feel that I can. This plan enables us to stay together, 

" PA HNASHipr 47 

Aunty, and you must know now that we can't drift any 

While Mara was speaking Aun' Sheba's thrifty thoughts 
had been busy. Her native shrewdness gave her a keen 
insight into Mrs. Hunter's character, and she knew that the 
widow's mind was so warped that she was practically as 
helpless as a child. While, in her generous love for Mara 
and from a certain loyalty to her old master's family, she 
was willing temporarily to assume what would be a very 
heavy burden, she was inwardly glad, as she grew accustomed 
to the idea, that Mara was willing to do her share. Indeed 
it would be a great relief if her basket could be filled for 
her, and she said heartily, " Takes some time, honey, you 
know, fer an idee to git into my tick head, but when it gits 
dar it stick. Now you'se sensible, an' Missus'll see it soon. 
You'se on de right track. Ob cose, I'd be proud ob pahna- 
ship, an' it'll be a great eas'n up to me. Makes a mighty 
long day, Missy, to git up in de mawnin' an' do my bakin' 
an' den tromp, tromp, tromp. I could put in an hour or 
two extra sleep, an' dat counts in a woman ob my age an' 
heft. But, law sakes ! look at dat clock dar. I mus' be 
gitten along. Set you deah little heart at res', honey. I'se 
comin' back dis ebenin', an' we'se start in kin' ob easy like 
so you hab a chance to larn and not get 'scouraged." 

'' I can't approve of this plan at all," said Mrs. Hunter, 
loftily, " I wash my hands of it." 

" Now, now, Missus, you do jes' dat — wash you bans ob 
it, but don' you 'fere wid Missy, kase it'll set her heart at 
res* and keep a home fer you bof. We's gwine to make a 
pile, honey, an' den de roses come back in you cheeks," 
and nodding encouragingly, she departed, leaving more hope 
and cheer behind her than Mara had known for many a 

To escape the complaining of her aunt, Mara shut herself 


in her room and thought long and deeply. The conclusion 
was, "The gulf between us has grown wider and deeper. 
When Mr. Clancy learns how I have sought independence 
without his aid " — but she only finished the sentence by a 
sad, bitter smile. 




" A TEBER had sech luck in all my bawn days," solilo- 
IM quized Aun' Sheba as she saw the bottom of her bas- 
ket early in the day. " All my cus'mers kin' o' smiUn' like 
de sunshine. Only Marse Clancy grumpy. He go by me 
like a brack cloud. I'se got a big grudge aginst dat ar young 
man. He use to be bery sweet on Missy. He mus' be 
taken wid some Norvern gal, and dat's 'nuff fer me. Ef he 
lebe ray honey lam' now she so po', dar's a bad streak in 
his blood and he don' 'long to us any mo.' I wouldn't be 
s'prised ef dey hadn't had a squar meal fer a fortnight. I 
can make blebe dat I wants to take my dinner 'long o' dem 
to sabe time, an' den dey'll hab a dinner wat'll make Missy 
real peart 'fore she gin to work," and full of her kindly 
intentions she bought a juicy steak, some vegetables, a 
quantity of the finest flour, sugar, coffee, and some spices. 

Mara had slipped out and invested the greater part of 
her diminished hoard in the materials essential to her new 
undertaking. Not the least among them, as she regarded 
it, was an account book. When, therefore, Aun' Sheba 
bustled in between one and two o'clock, she found some 
bulky bundles on the kitchen table over which Mrs. Hunter 
had already groaned aloud. 

"Law sakes, honey, what all dese?" the colored aunty 

"They are my start in trade," replied Mara, smiling. 


" Den you's gwine to hab a mighty big start, fer I got lots 
o' tings in dis basket." 

" Why, Aun' Sheba ! Did you think I was going to let 
you furnish the materials? " 

" Ef you furnish de makin up ob de 'terials what mo' you 
oughter do, I'd like ter know?" 

"Aun' Sheba, I could cheat you out of your two black 

" Dey see mo' dan you tink. Missy," she replied nodding 

" Yes, I reckon they do, but my eyes must look after your 
interests as well as my own. I am going to be an honest 
partner. Do you see this book? " 

" What dat ar got to do wid de pahnaship ? " 

"You will see. It will prevent you from ever losing a 
penny that belongs to you." 

" Penny, indeed ! As if I'se gwine to stand on a penny ! " 

" Well, I am. Little as I know about business, I am sure 
it will be more satisfactory if careful accounts are kept, and 
you must promise to tell me the whole truth about things. 
That's the way partners do, you know, and every thing is 
put down in black and white." 

" Oh, go 'long wid you, honey, an' hab you own way. 
All in my pahnaship go down in black, I 'spose, an' you'se in 
white. How funny it all am ! " and the old woman sat 
back in her chair and laughed in her joyous content. 

" It is all a very humiliating farce to me," said Mrs. Hunter, 
looking severely at the former property. 

" Yas'm," said Aun' Sheba, suddenly becoming stolid as a 
graven image. 

" Aunty," said Mara firmly but gently, " the time has come 
when I must act, for your sake as well as my own. Nothing 
will prevent me from carrying out this plan, except its failure 
to provide for Aun' Sheba as well as for ourselves." 


" Well, I wash my hands of it, and, if your course becomes 
generally known, I shall have it understood that you acted 
without my approval." And she rose and left the kitchen 
with great dignity. 

When the door closed upon her, Aun' Sheba again shook 
in vast and silent mirth. 

" Doan you trubble long o' Missus, honey," she said, nod- 
ding encouragingly at Mara. " She jes' like one dat lib in 
de dark an' can't see notin' right." Then in sudden revul- 
sion of feeling she added, " You po' honey lam', doan you 
see you'se got to take keer ob her jes' as ef she was a chile ? " 

" Yes," said Mara sadly, " I've been compelled to see it 
at last." 

" Now doan you be 'scouraged. 'Tween us we take keer 
ob her, an' she be a heap betteh off eben ef she doan know 
it. You hab no dinner yit? " 

"We were just going to get it as you came." 

" Well now, honey, I habn't had a bite nudder, an' Fse 
gwine to take dinneh heah ef you'se willin'." 

" Why surely, Aun' Sheba. It's httle we have, but you 
know I'd share my last crust with you." 

Again the guest was bubbling over with good-natured 
merriment. " We ain't got to de las' crus' yit, an' I couldn't 
make my dinneh on a crus' nohow. Bar's one ting I'se jes' 
got to 'sist on in de pahnaship. I don't keer notin' 'bout 
'count books and sich, but ef we'se gwine to make a fort'n 
you got to hab a heap o' po'er in you'se arms. You got to 
hab a strong back and feel peart all ober. Dis de ony ting 
I 'sist on. Now how you gwine to be plump and strong? " 

" Oh, I'm pretty strong, and I'll get stronger now that I 
have hope, and see my way a little." 

"Hope am bery good fer 'sert, honey, but we want 
somep'n solider to start in on. You jes' set de table in de 
oder room, an' I'll be de brack raben dat'U pervide. Now 


you must min' lease I'se doing 'cording to Scrip ter, an' we 
neber hab no luck 'tall if we go agin Scripter." 

" Very well," said Mara laughing, " you shall have your 
own way. I see through all your talk, but I know you'll 
feel bad if you can't carry out your purpose. You'll have a 
better dinner, too." 

" Yeh, yeh, she knows a heap moah'n me," thought Aun' 
Sheba when alone, " but I know some tings too, bress her 
lieart. I kin see dat her cheeks am pale and thin an' dat 
her eyes am gettin' so big and brack dat her purty face am 
like a little house wid big winders. She got quality blood 
in her vein, shuah, but habn't got neah 'nuff. Heah's de 
'terial wat gibs hope sometimes better'n preachin," and 
she whipped out the steak and prepared it for the broiler. 
Then she clapped some potatoes into the oven, threw together 
the constituents of light biscuit, and put the coffee over the 
fire. A natural born cook, she was deft and quick, and had 
a substantial repast ready in an amazingly short time. Soon 
it was smoking on the table, and then she said with a signifi- 
cant little nod at Mara, "Now I'se gwine to wait on Missus 
like ole times." 

Mara understood her and did not protest, for she felt the 
necessity of humoring her aunt, who quite thawed out at 
the semblance of her former state. While the poor lady 
enlarged on the thought that such should be the normal 
condition of affairs, and would be if the world were not 
wholly out of joint, she nevertheless dined so heartily as to 
prove that she could still enjoy the good things of life if they 
were provided without personal compromise on her part. 
Mara made a silent note of this, and felt more strongly than 
ever that her aunt's needs and not her words must control 
her actions. After dinner she said, " Come, aunty, you have 
had much to try your nerves of late, and there must be much 
more not in harmony with your feelings. It can't be helped, 


but I absolve you of all responsibility, and I know very well if 
you had what was once your own, I would not have to raise 
my hand. You see I am not seeking relief in the way that 
is so utterly distasteful to you, and, when you come to think 
this plan all over, you will admit that it is the one that would 
attract the least attention, and involve the least change. 
Now lie down and take a good rest this afternoon." 

" Well," said Mrs. Hunter, with the air of one yielding a 
great deal, " I will submit, even though I cannot approve, 
on the one condition that you have nothing more to say to 
Mr. Clancy." 

A painful flush overspread Mara's features, and she re- 
plied in a constrained voice, " You will have no occasion to 
worry about Mr. Clancy. After " — then remembering that 
Aun' Sheba was withm ear-shot, she concluded, "Mr. Clancy 
will have nothing to say to me when he knows what is taking 
place. When you have thought it over, you will see that my 
plan makes me independent of every one." 

" That is, if you succeed," remarked Mrs. Hunter, " and 
it will be about the only thing to be said in its favor." 

This degree of toleration obtained, Mara prepared to join 
Aun' Sheba in the kitchen, with the purpose of giving her 
whole thought and energy to the securing of an independ- 
ence, now coveted more than ever. In spite of the influ- 
ences and misapprehensions of her life which had tended to 
separate her from Clancy, when she fully learned that he 
was affiliating with those who dwelt as aliens in her thoughts, 
she had been overborne by his words and the promptings of 
her own heart. She was glad, indeed, that she had not 
revealed what she now regarded as her weakness, feeling 
that it would have complicated matters most seriously. 
While she had been compelled to see the folly of seclusion 
and inaction, the natural result of a morbid pride which 
blinds as well as paralyzes, she was by no means ready to 


accept his views or go to his lengths. She would have 
shared poverty with him gladly if he would continue to be 
" a true Southerner," in other words, one who submitted in 
cold and unrelenting protest to the new order of things. In 
accepting this new order, and in availing himself of it to 
advance his fortunes and those of his State as he also 
claimed, he alienated her in spite of all his arguments, and 
his avowed love. She felt that he should take the ground 
with her that they had suffered too deeply, and had been 
wronged too greatly, to ignore the past. They were a con- 
quered people, but so were the Poles and Alsatians. Were 
those subject races ready to take the hands that had struck 
them and still held them in thraldom? Their indignant 
enmity was patriotism, not hate. Now that the habitual 
thoughts of her life had been given time to resume their 
control, she felt all the more bitterly what seemed a hopeless 
separation. The North had not only robbed her of kindred 
and property, but was now taking her lover. She knew she 
loved him, yet not for the sake of her love would she be 
false to her deep-rooted feelings and convictions. If he had 
seen how nearly she yielded to him, not to his views, the 
previous evening, it would have been doubly hard to show 
him in the end that she could never share in his life, unless 
he adopted her attitude of passive submission to wliat could 
not be helped. 

Others might do as they pleased, but their dignity and 
personal memories required this position, and, as she had 
said to him, she could take no other course without hypoc- 
risy, revolting alike to her feelings and sense of honor. His 
strong words, however, combining with the circumstances of 
her lot, had broken the spell of her aunt's influence, and 
had planted in her mind the thought that any useless suffer- 
ing on her part was not loyalty to the memory of her father 
and mother. Her new impulse was to make the most and 


best of her life as far as she could conscientiously • and the 
hope would assert itself that if she were firm he would 
eventually be won over to her position. " If he loves as 
I do," she thought, " he will be. He, no doubt, is sincere, 
but he has been beguiled into seeing things in the light of 
his immediate interests. Love to me, if it is genuine, and 
loyalty to the cause for which his father gave his life, should 
lead him to the dignified submission of the conquered and 
away from all association with the conquerors that can be 
avoided. I'll prove to him," was her mental conclusion, 
accompanied with a flash of her dark eyes, "that a girl 
ignorant of the world and its ways, and with the help only 
of a former slave, can earn her bread, and thus show him 
how needless are his Northern allies," 

Thoughts like these had been swiftly coursing through her 
mind while dining, and therefore, when she joined Aun' 
Sheba in the kitchen, she was ready to employ every faculty, 
sharpened to the utmost, in the tasks before her. In that 
humble arena, and by the prosaic method contemplated, she 
would assert her unsubdued spirit, and maintain a consist- 
ency which should not be marred, even at the bidding 
of love, by an insincere acceptance of his views and 




WHILE Aun' Sheba finished her dinner Mara began 
to open and put in their places the slender materials 
which she had purchased as her first step towards self-sup- 
port. The generous meal and especially the coffee combin- 
ing with the strong incentive of her purpose gave elasticity 
to her step and flushed her face slightly with color. The 
old aunty watched her curiously and sympathetically as she 
thought, " Bress her heart how purty she am, bendin' heah 
an' dar Hke a willow an' lookin' de lady ebery inch while 
she doin' kitchen work ! Quar pahner fer sech an ole 
woman as me ter hab, but I dun declar dat her ban's, ef 
dey am little, seem po'ful smart. Dey takes hole on tings 
jes' as if dey'd coax 'em right along whar she wants dem ! " 
Then she broke out, " Wot a fool dat Owen Clancy am ! " 

Mara started and was suddenly busy in a distant part of 
the room. " I reckon you are the only one that thinks so, 
Aun' Sheba," she remarked quietly. 

" Ef he could see you now he'd tink so hisself." 

"Very likely," and there was a litde bitterness in Mara's 

" De mo' fool he be den," said Aun' Sheba with an indig- 
nant toss of her head. "Whar ud his eyes be ef he could 
see you and not go down on his marrow-bones, I'd like to 
know? Habn't I seen all de quality ob dis town? and dat 
fer de new quality," with a snap of her fingers, " an you 


take de shine off'n dem all eben in de kitchen. Law sakes, 
what kin' ob blood dat man Clancy hab to lebe you kase 
you po' ? Pears ter me de ole cun'l, his fader, ud be orful 
figety in his coffin." 

"Mr. Clancy has not left me because I am poor, Aun' 
Sheba," said Mara gravely. " You do him great injustice. 
We are not so good friends as we were simply because we 
cannot agree on certain subjects. But I would rather you 
would not talk about him to me or to any one else. Come 
now, you must give me some lessons in your mystery of 
making cakes that melt in one's mouth. Otherwise people 
will say you are growing old and losing your high art." 

" Dey better not tell me no sech lies. Law, Missy, you 
is gwine ter beat me all holler wen onst you gits de hang ob 
de work. You little white han's gib fancy teches dat ain't 
in my big black han'. Arter all, tain't de han's; it's de 
min'. Dere's my darter Mis Watson. Neber could lam 
her much mo'n plain cookin'. Dere's a knack at dese tings 
dat's bawn in one. It's wot you granpa used ter call genus, 
an' you alius hab it, eben when you was a chile an' want ter 
muss in de kitchen." 

Thus full of reminiscence and philosophy eminently satis- 
factory to her own mind, Aun' Sheba taught her apt and 
eager pupil the secrets of her craft. Mara was up with the 
dawn on the following day, and achieved fair success. Other 
lessons followed, and it was not very long before the girl 
passed beyond the imitative stage and began to reason upon 
the principles involved in her work and then to experiment. 

One day an old customer said to Aun' Sheba, " There's a 
new hand at the bellows." 

" Dunno not'n 'bout bellus. Aint de cakes right? " 

" Well, then, you've got some new receipts." 

" Like a'nuff I hab," said the vender warily. " De pint 
am, howsumeber, isn't de cakes good ? " 


" Yes, they seem better every day, but they are not the 
same every day. I reckon some one's coaching you." 

" Law sakes, Massa, wo't you mean by coachin' me ? " 

" Do you make the cakes? " was asked point-blank.- 

" Now, Massa, you's gittin' too cur'us. Wot de Scripter 
say? Ax no questions fer conscience sake," 

*' Come, come, Aun' Sheba ; if you begin to wrest Scrip- 
ture, I'll take pains to find you out." 

She shuffled away in some trepidation and shook her head 
over the problem of keepmg her relations with Mara secret.. 
" Missy puttin' her min' in de cakes an' I didn't hab much 
min' to put in an' folks know de dif'ence," she soliloquized. 
Later on she was down among the cotton warehouses, and 
finding herself weary and warm, stopped to rest in the shade 
of a building. Suddenly Owen Clancy turned the corner. 
His brow was contracted as if in deep and not agreeable 

Aun' Sheba's lowered at him, for he seemed about to pass 
her without noticing her. The moment he became aware of 
her presence, however, he stopped and fixed upon her his 
penetrating gray eyes. His gaze was so persistent and stern 
that she was disconcerted, but she spoke with her accus- 
tomed assurance, "You ain't gwine ter call de perlice, is 
i^ou, Mars' Clancy?" and she placed her arms akimbo on 
her hips. 

This reference was shrewd, for it reminded him that his 
grievance was purely personal and one that he could not 
resent in her case, yet his heart was so ■ sore with the suspi- 
cion that Mara was looking to this negress for help instead 
of to himself, that for the time being he detested the woman. 
Love is not a judicial quality, and rarely has patience with 
those who interfere with its success. He had hoped that 
eventually the pressure of poverty would turn Mara's 
thoughts to him, especially as he had revealed so emphatically 


his wish to help her disinterestedly as a friend even ; but 
if his present fears were well grounded, he would have to 
admit that her heart had grown utterly cold towards him. 

*' Why should you think of the police, Aun' Sheba, unless 
you have something on your mind?" he asked, coolly re- 
moving the cover of the basket and helping himself. " You 
didn't make these cakes. Did you steal them? " 

" Marse Clancy, what you take me fer? " 

"That depends on how honest your answers are." 

" I ain't 'bliged ter answer 'tall." 

" Oh, you're afraid then." 

" No, I am't afeerd. Ef dey is stolen, you'se a 'ceivin' ob 
stolen goods, fum de way dem cakes dis'pearin'." 

" You're pert, Aun' Sheba." 

"Ob co'sel'sepeart. Hab to be spry to arn a hbin' in 
dese yer times, but I can do it fum dem dat's fren'ly and 
not fum dem dat glower at me." 

" Will you tell me if Miss Wallingford " — 

" Marse Clancy, hab Miss Wallingford sent you word dat 
she want you to know 'bout her 'fairs? " 

" I understand," he said almost savagely, and throwing a 
quarter into the basket he passed on. 

There had been a tacit understanding at first that Mara's 
part in Aun' Sheba's traffic should not be revealed. The 
girl had not wholly shaken off the influence of her aunt's 
opposition, and she shrunk with almost morbid dread from 
being the subject of remark even among those of her own 
class. The chief and controlling motive for secrecy, how- 
ever, had been distrust, the fear that the undertaking would 
not be successful. As the days had passed this fear had 
been removed. Aun' Sheba did not come to make her 
returns until after she had taken her supper in the evening, 
and at about ten in the morning she reached Mara's home 
by an unfrequented side street. There were those, however, 


who had begun to notice the regularity of her visits and 
among them was Owen Clancy. We have also seen that the 
daintiness of the viands had caused surmises. 

Mara had become pre-occupied with her success and with 
plans for increasing it. At first Aun' Sheba had supple- 
mented her attempts, and her plan had been entered on so 
quietly and carried forward so smoothly that even Mrs. 
Hunter was becoming reconciled to the scheme although 
she tried to conceal the fact. It would be hard to find two 
women more ignorant of the world, or more averse to being 
known by it, yet from it the unsophisticated girl now hoped 
to divert a little sustaining rill of currency without a ripple 
of general comment until the hour should come when she 
could reveal the truth to Clancy as a rebuke to his course 
and as a suggestion that a man might do more and yet not 
compromise himself. Full of these thoughts and hopes, her 
life, if not happy, had at least ceased to stagnate and was 
growing in zest and interest. 

The day on which occurred the events just narrated was 
destined to prove a fateful one. When Aun' Sheba came in 
the evening it was soon evident that she had something on 
her mind. She paid little heed to the accounts while Mara 
was writing them down and explaining the margin of profit, 
as the girl was always careful to do, for it satisfied her con- 
science that her over loyal partner was prospering now as 
truly as before. After every thing had been attended to 
and the programme arranged for the morning, Aun' Sheba 
still sat and fidgeted in her chair. Mara leaned back in 
hers and looking across the kitchen table said, " Be honest 
now. There's something you want to say." 

" Don't want ter say it, but 'spose I ought." 

" I reckon you had, Aun' Sheba." 

The woman's native shrewdness had been sharpened by 
the varied experience of her calling, and she had become 


convinced that the pohcy of secrecy would be a failure. 
What would be Mara's course when compelled to face the 
truth, was the question that troubled her. The kind soul 
hoped that it would make no difference, and proposed to 
use all her tact to induce the girl to continue her enterprise 
openly, believing that this course would be best for several 
reasons. She had the wit to know that Mara would yield 
far more out of consideration for her than for any thought 
of self, so she said as a masterpiece of strategy, " Marse 
Clancy ax me to-day if I stole de cakes." 

" What," cried Mara, flushing hotly. 

" Jes dat — ef I stole de cakes ; an' anoder man say I was 
gittin' new resects or dat somebody was coachin' me, what- 
eber dat is. Den he put it right straight, ' Did you make 

" O Aun' Sheba, I've thoughtlessly been causing trouble. 
I should have continued to make the cakes just as you did, 
and it was only to divert my mind that I tried other ways. 
I won't do so any more." 

" Dunno 'bout dat, honey." 

" Indeed I will not when I promise you." 

" I doesn't want any sech a promise. De folks like de 
new-fangle' cakes betteh an' gwine back to de ole way 
wouldn't do no good. It's all boun'ter come out dat I'se 
sellin' fer you as well as fer me. Marse Clancy axed ef you 
wasn't, leastways he 'gan to ax when I shut him up." 

" How did you shut him up ? " said Mara breathing quickly. 

*' By axin' him anoder question. Yah, yah, I'se Yankee 
'nuff fer dat. I say, ' Hab Miss Wallingford sen' you word 
dat she want you to know 'bout her 'fairs? " 

" Didn't he say any thing after that? " 

" Yes, he say * I understand,' an' I 'spect he do, fer he 
drap a quarter in my basket an' look as if he was po'ful 
mad as he walk away. He better min' his own business." 


Mara understood Clancy and Ann' Sheba did not. The 
young girl was troubled and perplexed, for she could not 
but see in her lover's mind the effect of her step. She felt 
that it was natural he should be hurt and even angered to 
learn that, after all he had offered to do for her, she should 
avail herself of Aun' Sheba's services instead of his. What 
she feared most was that he Avould take it as final evidence 
that she was hostile to him personally and not merely 
estranged because he would not conform his views and life 
to her own. Her secret and dearest purpose, that of teach- 
ing him that he could live without compromise as she could, 
might be defeated. What if the very act should lead to the 
belief that she no longer wished to have any part in his 
life ? A girl cannot feel the same towards a man who has 
told her openly of his love, for such words break down the 
barriers of maidenly reserve even in her own self-commun- 
ings. Since he had spoken so plainly she could think more 
plainly. She knew well how mistaken Aun' Sheba was in 
iier judgment, but could not explain that Clancy felt he was 
not only rejected as a lover but had been ignored even as a 
helpful friend ; and her own love taught her to gauge the 
bitterness of this apparent truth. 

She soon became conscious that Aun' Sheba was watch- 
ing her troubled face, and to hide her deeper thoughts she 
said, " Yes, I suppose it is all bound to come out. Well, 
let it. You shall not be misjudged." 

*' Law sake, Missy, wot does I keer ! De ting dat trouble 
me is dat you'se gwine to keer too much. I doan want you 
to gib up and I doan want you to be flustered of you fin' 
it's known. De pa'hnership, as you call 'im, been doin' 
you a heap o' good. You'se min' been gettin' int'usted an' 
you fo'gits you'se troubles. Dat's wot pleases me. Now 
to my po' sense, folks is a heap betteh off, takin' keer ob 
demselves, dan wen dey worry 'bout wat dis one say an' dat 


one do. Dere is lots ob folks dat'U talk 'bout you a month 
dat won't lif ' dere finger for you a minit. An' wat can dey 
say, honey, dat'll harm you? You prouder'n all ob dem, 
but you got dis km' ob pride. Ef de rent fall due you fight 
agin eben you'se ole nuss payin' it. Talk's only breff, but 
nn empty pocket mean an orful lot ob trouble to folks wlio 
ain't willin' to take out ob dere pocket wat dey didn't put 

"Yes, Aun' Sheba, I think it would be the worst kind 
of trouble." 

" I know it ud be fer you, but dar's Unc. He'd like his 
pocket filled ebery day an' he wouldn't keer who filled it 
ef he could spend. He'd say de Lawd pervided. Unc.'d 
rather trust de Lawd dan work any day." 

"I am afraid you are not very religious," said Mara 

"Well, I of'n wonder wedder I'se 'ligious or no," resumed 
Aun' Sheba, introspectively. "Some sarmons and prars 
seem like bread made out ob bran, de bigger de loaf de 
wuss it is. Unc. says I'se very cole an backsliden, but I'd 
be a heap colder ef I didn't keep up de wood-pile." 

" And you help others keep up their wood-piles." 

" Well, I reckon I does, but dere ain't much 'ligion in 
dat. Dat's kin' ob human natur which de preacher say am 
bad, bery bad stuff. De Lawd knows I say my prars sho't 
so as to be up an' doin'. Anyhow I doan belebe he likes 
ter be hollered at so, as dey do in our meetin' an' Unc. says 
dat sech talk am 'phemous. But dat ain't heah nor dar. 
We'se gwine right along, honey, ain't we? We'se gwine ter 
min' our own business jes' as if we'se the bigges' pahners 
in de town? " 

" Yes, Aun' Sheba, you can say what you please hereafter, 
and I want you to come and go openly. I should have 
taken the stand before and saved you from coming out 


evenings. It has been far more on Aunty's account than 
on my own." 

" Well, honey, now my min's at res' an' I belebe we do 
po'ful lot ob trade. Dat orful human natur gwine to come 
in now an' I belebe dat folks who know you an' all 'bout 
you'se family will help you, 'stid ob talkin' agin you. You 
see. You knows I doan mean no disrespec' to ole Missus, 
but she'd jes sit down an' starbe, tinkin' ob de good dinners 
she orter hab, an' did hab in de ole times. All you'se folks 
in hebin is a smilin' on you, honey. Dey is, fer I feels it 
in my bones. You'se got de co'age ob you pa an' granpa 
an' dey know, jes' as we knows, dat ole Missus take a heap 
mo' comfort grumblin' dan in bein' hungry." 

" O Aun' Sheba, do you truly think they know about my 
present life?" the girl asked, with wet eyes. 

" Dat's a bery deep question, honey, but it kin' a seem 
reason 'ble ter me dat wen you gettin' on well an' wen you 
doin' good to some po' soul de Lawd'll sen' an angel to tell 
'em. Wen dey ain't hearin' notm' I spects dey's got to tink 
as we does dat no news is good news." 

The girl was deeply moved, for the vernacular of her old 
nurse had been familiar from childhood and did not detract 
from the sacred themes suggested. " Oh, that I could have 
seen my father," she sighed. " Portraits are so unsatisfying. 
Tell me again just how he looked." 

" He'd be proud ob you, honey, an' you kin be proud ob 
him. You hab his eyes, only you'se is bigger and ofn look 
as if you'se sorrowin' way down in you soul. Sometimes, 
eben wen you was a baby, you'd look so long an' fixed wid 
you big sad eyes as if you seed it all an' know'd it all dat 
I used to boo-hoo right out. Nuder times I'd be skeered, 
fer you'd reach out you'se little arms as ef you seed you'se 
moder an' wanted to go to her. De Lawd know bes' why 
he let such folks die. She was like a passion vine creepin' 


up de oak — all tender and clingin' an' lubin', wid tears in 
her blue eyes ebin wen he pettin' her, an' he was tall an' 
straight an' strong wid eyes dat laffed or flashed jes as de 
'casion was. I kin see him now come marchin' down 
Meetin' Street at de head ob his men, all raised hisself. He 
walk straight as an arrow wid his sword flashin' in de sun- 
shine an' a hundred men step tromp, tromp, arter him as ef 
dey proud to follow. Missy Mary stood on de balc'ny 
lookin' wid all her vi'let eyes an' wabin' her hank'chief. 
Oh, how purty she look ! de roses in her cheek, her bref 
comin' quick, bosom risin' an' fallin', an' she a tremblin' an' 
alibe all ober wid excitement an' pride an' lub. Wen he 
right afore de balc'ny his voice rung out like a trumpet, 
' Right 'bout, face. 'Sent arms.' I dun declar dat 'fore 
we could wink dey was all in line frontin' us wid dere guns 
held out. Den he s'lute her wid his sword an' she take a 
red rose fum her bosom an' trow it to him an' he pick it up 
an' put it to his lips ; den it was ' Right 'bout ! March ! ' an' 
away dey went tromp, tromp, towa'ds de Bat'ry. I kin see 
it all. I kin see it all. O, Lawd, Lawd, dey's all dead," and 
she rocked back and forth, wiping her eyes with her apron. 

Mara sprung up, her streaming tears dried by the hotness 
of her indignation as she cried, " And I too can see him, 
with his little band, dashing against almost an army and 
then trodden in the soil he died to defend. No, no, Owen 
Clancy, never ! " 

"Ah," said a low stern voice, "that's the true spirit. Now 
Mara you are your father's child. Never forget ; never for- 
give," and they saw that Mrs. Hunter stood with them in 
the dim kitchen. 

" Dunno 'bout dat, Missus. Reckon de wah am ober, an' 
what we gwine ter do wid de Lawd's prar ? Dar, dar, honey, 
'pose you'se nerves. 'Taint bes' to tink too much ob de 
ole times, an' I mustn't talk to you so no mo'." 




ON her way home Aun' Sheba shook her head more 
than once in perplexity and disapprobation over what 
she had heard. She had the freedom of speech of an old 
family servant who had never been harshly repressed even 
when a slave, and now was added the fearlessness of a free 
woman. Her affection for Mara was so strong that in her 
ignorance she shared in some of the girl's prejudices against 
the North, but not in her antipathy. The thought that 
Clancy had waned in his regard or that he could even think 
of a Northern girl after having " kep' company " with Mara, 
had been exasperating, but now Aun' Sheba began to sus- 
pect that the estrangement was not wholly his fault. " She 
set agin him by his gwine Norf an' his habin' to do wid de 
folks dat she an' ole Missus hates. Doan see why he is mad 
at me 'bout it. Reckon he's mad anyhow an' can't speak 
peac'ble to nobody. Well, I likes him a heap betteh in dat 
view ob de case an' he kin glower at me all he please 'long 
as he ain't 'sertin' young Missy case she is po'. Couldn't 
Stan' dat no how. He's willin' an' she ain't, an' dat wat 
she mean by sayin' * No, Owen Clancy, nebbeh.' She won't 
lis'n to him kase he doan hate de Norf hke pizen. Now 
dat is foolishness, an' she's sot up to it by de ole Missus. 
De Norf does as well as it know how. To be sure, it ain't 
quality like young Missy, but it buy de cotton an' it got de 
po'r. Wat's mo', it gib me a chance to wuck fer mysef. I 


would do as much fer young Missy as eber. I'd wuck my 
fingers off fer her but I hkes ter do it Hke white folks, kase 
I lub her. She orten' be so hard on young Clancy. He 
got his way ter make and dere'd be no good in his buttin' 
his head agin a wall. Tings am as dey is, an' I'm glad dey 
is as dey am. Dey's a long sight betteh fer cullud folks and 
white folks too, ef dey's a min' ter pull wid de curren' sted 
ob agin it. Massa Clancy's no fool. He know dis. He 
los' his pa an' his prop'ty too, but he know betteh dan to go 
on hatin' fereber. Dey can't spec' me to uphole dem in dis 
fer it agin de Scripter an' my feelin's. Ole Missus bery 
'ligious. She dun fergit wat de words mean she say ebry 
Sunday. But den, wot de use ob callin' ole Missus to 
'count. She neber could see ony her side ob de question. 
It don make any dif 'ence to her how many widers dere is 
in de Norf an' she hab jes dinged her 'pinions inter young 
Missyeber sence she was bawn. I'se glad ter do fer dem 
long as I hb, but I'se gwine ter speak my min' too." 

With such surmises and self communings she reached 
her home and found Uncle Sheb? asleep in his chair and 
the fire out. She nodded at him ominously and muttered, 
" I gib him anuder lesson." Slipping quietly into the bed- 
room she bolted the door, and, unrelenting to all remon- 
strances, left him to get through the night as well as he 
could in his chair. The result justified the wisdom of the 
means employed, for thereafter Uncle Sheba always had a 
good fire when she returned. 

Aun' Sheba had correctly interpreted the ellipsis suggested 
by Mara's passionate utterance. The scenes called up by her 
old nurse's words and rendered vivid by a strong imagina- 
tion again presented themselves as an impassable barrier 
between herself and her lover unless he should feel their 
significance as she did. As a woman her heart was always 
pleading for him, but when strongly excited by the story of 


the past her anger flamed that he should even imagine that 
she would continue her regard for him. Indeed she won- 
dered and was almost enraged at herself that she could 
not at once blot out his image and dismiss him from her 
thoughts when he was taking the course of all others most 
repugnant to her. At such moments she could easily 
believe that all was over between them, but with quiet per- 
sistence her heart knew better, and preferred love to enmi- 
ties and sad memories. 

Moreover, passionate as had been her mood there was 
a hard, homely common sense in her old nurse's words, 
" Reckon de wah's ober an' wat you g^vine ter do wid de 
Lawd's prar?" that quenched her fire like cold water. No 
one can be in a false position, out of harmony with normal 
laws and principles, without meeting spiritual jars. Mara 
was too young and too intelhgent not to recognize the diffi- 
culties in maintaining her position, but she believed sin- 
cerely that the circumstances of her lot justified this 
position and made it the only honorable one for her. 
Northerners were to her what the Philistines were to the 
ancient Hebrews, the hereditary foes from which she had 
suffered the chief ills of her life. To compromise with 
them was to compromise with evil, and therefore she was 
always able to reason away the significance of all words like 
those of Aun' Sheba, although for the moment they troubled 

Mrs. Hunter, however, had long since been incapable of 
doubts or compunctions. She tolerated Aun' Sheba's out- 
spokenness as she would that of a child or a slave babbling 
of matters far above her comprehension. 

The day marked a change in Mara's policy and action, 
and these led to some very important experiences. A false 
pride had at first prompted, or at least induced her to 
acquiesce in secrecy ; now an honest pride led her to open- 


ness in all her efforts to obtain a livelihood. She would 
volunteer no information, but would simply go on in an 
unhesitating manner, let the consequences be what they 

They soon began to take a surprisingly agreeable form, 
for the quick warm sympathies of the Southern people were 
touched. Here was a young girl, the representative of one 
of the oldest and best families, seeking quietly and unos- 
tentatiously to support herself and her aged aunt. There 
had been scores of people who would have gladly offered her 
assistance, but they had respected her reticence in regard to 
her affairs as jealously as they guarded the condition of their 
own. Frank in the extreme with each other in most respects, 
there was an impoverished class in the city who would suffer 
much rather than reveal pecuniary need or accept the slightest 
approach to charity. Poverty was no reproach among these 
families that had once enjoyed wealth in abundance. Indeed 
it was rather like a badge of honor, for it indicated sacrifice 
for the "lost cause " and an unreadiness for thrifty compacts 
and dealings with those hostile to that cause. In the class to 
which Mara belonged, therefore, she gained rather than lost 
in social consideration, and especial pains were taken to 
assure her of this fact. 

Those in whose veins, even in Mrs. Hunter's estimation, 
flowed the oldest and bluest blood, called more frequently 
and spoke words of cheer and encouragement. That good 
lady, in a rich but antiquated gown, received the guests and 
was voluble in Mara's praises and in lamentation over the 
wrongs of the past. The majority were-sympathetic listeners, 
but all were glad that the girl could do and was willing to do 
something more than complain. To their credit it should 
be said that they were ready to do more than sympathize, 
for even the most straitened found that they could spare 
something for Mara's cake, and Aun' Sheba's basket began 


to be emptied more than once every day. Orders were 
given also, and the young girl had all she could do to keep 
up with the growing demand. 

It was well for her that each day brought its regular work, 
and its close found her too weary for the brooding so often 
the bane of idleness. Yet, in spite of all that was encoura- 
ging, the cheering words spoken to her, the elation of Aun' 
Sheba and the excitement resulting from her humble pros- 
perity, she was ever conscious of a dull ache at heart. 
Clancy had gone North for an indefinite absence, and it 
looked as if their separation were final. In vain she assured 
herself that it was best that they should not meet again until 
both were satisfied that their paths led apart. She knew 
that she had hoped his path would come back to hers, — 
that in secret she hoped this still, with a pathetic persistence 
which defied all effort. She believed, however, that such 
effort was her best resource, for he was again under the 
influences she most feared and detested. At times she 
reproached herself for having been too reserved, too proud 
and passionate in her resentment at his course. He had 
asked her to convince him of his error if she could, and she 
had not only failed to make such effort, but also had denied 
him the hope that would have been more than all argument. 
Thus, at variance with her heart, she alternated between the 
two extremes of anger at his course and regret and compunc- 
tion at her own. As a rule, though, her resolute will enabled 
her to concentrate her thoughts on daily occupations and 
immediate interests, and it became her chief aim to so 
occupy herself with these interests that no time should 
be left for thoughts which now only tended to distress and 

Mara was a girl who consciously would be controlled by 
a few simple motives rather than by impulses, circumstances 
or the influence of others. We have seen that loyalty as 


she understood it, was her chief motive. Her love for 
parents she had never seen was profound, and all relating 
to them was sacred. To do what she believed would be 
pleasing to them, what would now reflect honor upon their 
memory, was her supreme duty. All other motives would be 
dominated by this pre-eminent one and all action guided by 
it. She felt that the effort to provide for her aunt, the one 
remaining member of her family, and to enable her to spend 
her remaining days in the congenial atmosphere of the past, 
would certainly be in accord with her parents' wishes. Then 
by natural sequence her sympathies went out to those whose 
fortunes, like her own, had been wrecked by the changes 
against which they could interpose only a helpless protest. 
In various ways she learned of those of her own class who 
had been disabled and impoverished, whose lives were 
stripped of the embroidery of pleasant little gratifications 
only permitted by a surplus of income. It gradually came 
to be a cherished solace after the labors of the morning, to 
carry to the sick and afflicted, dwelling in homes of faded 
gentility like her own, some delicacy made by her own 
hands. While these were received in the spirit in which 
they were brought, the girl's lovely, sympathetic face was 
far more welcome, and the orphan began to embody to those 
of the old regime the cause for which they all had suffered 
so much. Within this limited circle Mara was kindness and 
gentleness itself, beyond it cold and unapproachable. Oc- 
casionally some, with whom she had no sympathy, sought to 
patronize her. They intimated that they were willing to buy 
lavishly, but it was also evident that they wished their good 
will appreciated and reciprocated in ways that excited the 
girl's scorn. In spite of her poverty and homely work, it 
was known that she was a favorite in the most aristocratic 
circle in the city, and there are always those ready to seek 
social recognition in many and devious ways. These push- 


ing people represented to Mara the Northern element and 
leaven in the city, and she soon made it clear that there was 
an invisible line beyond which they could not pass. Their 
orders were either declined or scrupulously filled, if her 
time permitted, but with a quiet tact which was inflexible 
she warded off every approach which was not purely 




WHILE in New York, Owen Clancy had been kept 
informed of the drift of those events in which he was 
especially interested. While Mara's effort liad increased his 
admiration for her, its success had still further discouraged 
his hope. In his way he was as proud as she was. He had 
committed himself to a totally different line of action, for in 
his business relations he had been led into friendly relations 
with many Northern people in both cities. He had accepted 
and returned their hospitalities in kind as far as it was possi- 
ble for a young bachelor of modest means. This courtesy 
had been expected and accepted as a matter of course, and 
to exchange it for cold, freezing politeness Hmited only to 
matters of trade, would not only subject him to ridicule but 
cut short his business career. Considerations supreme in 
Mara's circle were ignored by the great world, and, having 
once felt the impulses of the large currents of life, it would 
be impossible for Clancy to withdraw into the httle sid'e 
eddy wherein thought was ever turning back to no purpose. 
Having clasped hands and broken bread with the men and 
women of the North, he felt that he could not, and would 
not stultify himself, even for the sake of his love, by any 
change towards them. They would despise him not only as 
a miracle of narrowness but also as an insincere man, whose 
courtesy had been but business policy, easily dropped at the 
bidding of some more pressing interest. 


His last interview with Mara had depressed him exceed- 
ingly, for while it had increased his love it had also revealed 
to him the radical divergence in their views and made it 
more clear that he could only hope to win her love by the 
sacrifice of self-respect. He must cease to be a thinking, 
independent man, a part of his own day and generation, and 
fix his thoughts upon the dead issues of the past. "The 
idea," he would mutter, "of sitting down and listening to 
Mrs. Hunter's inane and endless lament." He could not 
conform to Mara's views without being guilty of hypocrisy 
also, and she proved her narrowness by not recognizing this 

After all, the point of view was chiefly the cause of the 
trouble between them. She had ever dwelt in the shaded 
valley; he had been on the mountain-top, and so had 
secured a broad range of vision. He had come into con- 
tact with the great forces which were making the future and 
the men of the future, and he recognized that his own State 
and his own people must be vitalized by these forces or else 
be left far behind. And he represented a large and increas- 
ing class in his native city. In birth and breeding he was 
the peer of Mara or any of her aristocratic circle. He had 
admission to the best society in the State, and, if looked 
upon coldly by some, it was for the same reasons which 
actuated the girl for whom he would gladly yield every 
t?5ing except his principles and right of private judgment. 

While he had many warm, sympathetic friends who felt 
that the old should give way to the new, he yet ran against 
the prejudices which Mara embodied so often that he began 
to feel ill at ease in Charleston. 

He thought of removing permanently to cosmopolitan 
New York more than once during his absence North. If he 
should be fully convinced after his return that Mara was lost 
to him, unless he became a part of her implacable and 


reactionary coterie, it might be better for his peace of mind 
that he were far away. 

One evening, before his departure home, he was invited 
to dine with a gentleman who had large railroad interests in 
the South. Mr. Ainsley was a widower, a man of wealth, 
and absorbed in the pleasure of its increase. He had made 
a business acquaintance with Clancy, and, finding him un- 
usually intelligent and well informed in regard to Southern 
matters, naturally wished to converse more at length with 
him. The cordial invitation, the hearty welcome of the 
Northern capitalist could scarcely fail in gratifying the young 
Southerner, who keenly felt the importance of interesting 
just such men as his host in the enterprises under considera- 
tion. During the preHminary talk in the library of his pala- 
tial home, Mr. Ainsley soon discovered that his guest was 
not only well informed but frank and honest in statements, 
giving the cons as well as the pros, in spite of an evident 
desire to secure for the South all the advantages possible. 

Before going to the dining-room, Miss Caroline, his host's 
only daughter, entered the hbrary and was presented. 
Clancy was fairly dazzled by her remarkable beauty. She 
was a blonde of the unusual type characterized by dark eyes 
and golden hair. Naturally, therefore, the first impression 
of beauty was vivid, nor was it banished by closer observa- 
tion. As she presided with ease and grace at her father's 
table, Clancy found himself fascinated as he had never been 
before by a stranger. 

Although their table-talk lost its distinctively business 
and statistical character, Mr. Ainsley still pursued his in- 
quiries in a broad, general way, and the daughter also asked 
questions in regard to life and society at the South which 
indicated a personal interest on her part. 

At last she said, " Papa thinks it quite possible that we 
may spend some time in your region, and in that case we 


should probably make Charleston our headquarters. I have 
a friend, Mrs. Willoughby — do you know her? " 

" Yes, indeed ; a charming lady. She resides on the 

" I'm glad you know her. I met her abroad, and we 
becamd very fond of each other. She has often asked me 
to visit her, but as I rarely leave Papa, the way has never 

" My daughter is very good in accompanying me in my 
various business expeditions," her father explained, " and 
you know they do not often lead to fashionable watering- 
places, nor can they always be adjusted to such seasons as I 
could desire. I wish I could go to Charleston at an early 
date, but in view of other interests, I cannot tell when I can 
get away." 

" When I do come, I shall make the most of my name 
and insist on being regarded as a Carolinian," said Miss 
Ainsley, laughing. 

Clancy was pleased with the conceit and the delicate com- 
pliment implied, but he was already impressed with the idea 
that his hostess was the most cosmopolitan girl that he had 
ever met. She piqued his curiosity, and he led her to talk of 
her experiences abroad. Apparently she had been as much 
at home in Europe as in America, and had been received 
in the highest social circles everywhere. When after dinner 
she played for him some brilliant, difficult classical music, 
he began to regard her a perfect flower of metropolitan 
culture. Yet she perplexed him. She revealed so much 
about herself without the slightest hesitation, yet at the same 
time, seemed to veil herself completely. He and her father 
could broach no topic of conversation in which she could 
not take an intelligent part. Matters of European policy 
were touched upon, and she was at home in regard to them. 
She smiled broadly when he tried to explain to her father 


that patience would still be required with the South, but that 
in time the two parts of the country would be more firmly 
welded together than ever. " Such antipathies amuse me," 
she said, " It is one side keeping up a quarrel which the 
other has forgotten all about." 

" The circumstances are different. Miss Ainsley," Clancy 
replied. "The war cost me my father, my property, and 
impoverished my State." 

He could not tell whether her eyes expressed sympathy 
or not, for they had beamed on him with a soft alluring fire 
from the first, but her father spoke up warmly, " The North 
has not forgotten, especially the older generation. We have 
not suffered materially and have become absorbed in new 
interests, but the heart of the North was wounded as truly 
as that of the South. I wish to assure you, Mr. Clancy, how 
deeply I sympathize with and honor your spirit of concilia- 
tion. What is there for us all but to be Americans ? Believe 
me, sir, such men as yourself are the strength and hope of 
your section." 

'^ I believe with you, Mr. Ainsley, that it has been settled 
that we are to have but one destiny as a nation, but in justice 
to my people I must say that our wounds were so deep and 
the changes involved so vast that it is but reasonable we 
should recover slowly. You may say that we committed 
errors during the reconstruction period, yet they were errors 
natural to a conquered people. In the censure we have 
received from many quarters we have been almost denied 
the right to our common human nature. Possibly the North, 
in our position would not have acted very differently. But 
the past is past, and the question is now, what is right and 
wise ? I know that I represent a strong and growing senti- 
ment which desires the unity and prosperity of the entire 
country. I in turn, sir, can say that men like yourself, in 
coming among us and investing their money do more than 


all politicicans in increasing this sentiment. It proves that 
you trust us ; and trust begets trust and good feeling. The 
North, however, will always be mistaken if it expects us to 
denounce our fathers or cease to honor the men who fought 
and prayed for what they believed was right." 

"Suppose, Mr. Clancy," Miss Ainsley asked, with mirthful 
eyes, "that a party in the South had the power to array 
your section against the North again, would you go with 
your section ? " 

" Oh, come, Carrie, it is scarcely fair to ask tests on 
utterly improbable suppositions," said her father laughing, 
yet he awaited Clancy's answer with interest. 

" No," he said quietly, " not with the light I now possess. 
I would have done so five years ago. Are Northern young 
men so intrinsically wise and good that they are not influ- 
enced by their traditions and immediate associations ? " 

" Mr. Clancy, where are your eyes ? Go to the Delmo- 
nico caf6 at noon to-morrow, and observe the flower of our 
patrician youth taking their breakfast. You will see beings 
who are intrinsically what they are." 

" I fear we are rather even in this respect," said Clancy, 
laughing. "You have your metropolitan dudes and mani- 
kins, and we our rural ruffians, slaves of prejudice, who hate 
progress, schools and immigration, as they do soap and 
water. There is some consideration for our fellows, how- 
ever, for they scarcely know any better, and many of their 
characteristics are bred in the bone. It would almost seem 
that the class you refer to are fools and nonentities from 

" I fear not," she said lifting her eyebrows. " If I were 
a medical student I should be tempted to kill one of 
them — it wouldn't be murder — to see if he had a 

" You think brain, then, is absolutely essential? " 


" Yes, indeed. I could endure a man without a heart, but 
not if he were a fool. If a man is not capable of thinking 
himself into what is sensible he is a poor creature." 

Clancy shrugged his shoulders in slight protest and soon 
after took his leave, having first acquiesced in an appoint- 
ment with Mr. Ainsley at his office in the morning. 

On the way to his hotel and until late into the night, he 
thought over his experiences of the evening. Did Miss 
Ainsley intend to comphment him by suggesting that he 
was thinking himself into what was sensible ? It was difficult 
to tell what she intended as far as he was concerned. " She 
could only have the most transient interest in such a stranger 
as I am," he reasoned, "yet her eyes were like magnets. 
They both fascinate and awaken misgivings. Perhaps they 
are the means by which she discovers whether a man is a 
fool or not ; if he speedily loses his head under their spells, 
she mentally concludes, weighs and finds wanting. Probably 
however, like hosts of pretty women, she simply enjoys using 
her powers and seeing men succumb ; and men not fore- 
armed and steeled as I am, might well hesitate to see her 
often, for my impression is right strong that she has more 
brain than heart. Yet she is a dazzling creature. Jove, what 
a contrast to Mara ! Yet there is a nobility and womanly 
sincerity in Mara's expression that I cannot discover in Miss 
Ainsley's face. However wrong Mara may be, you are sure 
she is sincere and that she would be true to her conscience 
even if she put the whole North to the sword ; but this 
brilliant girl — how much conscience and heart has she? 
Back of all her culture and accomplishments there is a 
woman ; yet what kind of a woman ? Well, the prospects are 
that I may have a chance to find out when she comes South. 
One thing is certain, she will not discover that I am a fool 
by speedily kindling a vain sentiment. Yet I would like to 
find her out, to discover the moral texture of her being. A 


girl like Miss Ainsley could more than fulfil a man's ideal 
or else make his life a terror." 

He called again just before his departure, and saw her 
alone. As at first, she appeared to veil the woman in her 
nature completely, while, at the same time, the mild light- 
ning of her eyes played about him. 

Although consciously on his guard he found himself fasci- 
nated in spite of himself by her marvellous beauty, and his 
curiosity piqued more than ever. He discovered that her 
range of reading was wide, especially in modern European 
literature, and he was charmed by her broad, liberal views. 
Perhaps it was because he was singularly free from egotism 
that he was so conscious of her fine reticence which took 
the mask of apparent frankness. Most men would have 
been flattered by her seeming interest in them and willing- 
ness to listen to all they had to say about themselves. 
According to Clancy's opinion, conversation should be an 
equal interchange. He looked direct into Miss Ainsley's 
eyes. They bewildered and perplexed him, for they ap- 
peared to gather the rays of some light he did not under- 
stand and focus them upon himself. He wished he could 
see her in the society of other men and could learn more 
of her antecedents so that he might better account for her, 
but he went away feeling that she was more of an enigma 
than ever. 

The glamour of her perplexing personality was upon him 
during much of his journey, but as he approached his 
native city thoughts of Mara predominated. ^Vas she utterly 
estranged, and was the secret of her coldness due to the 
truth that he had never had any real hold upon her heart ? 
If Mrs. Hunter had not so harshly interposed at the critical 
moment of their last interview, he believed that he would 
have discovered why it was she said he was " breaking her 
heart." Was it because he charged her with disloyalty to 


her kindred? Or had his own course which she felt was 
separating them some part in her distress ? The fact that 
she had been silent to his last appeal, that she had proved 
his fears in regard to her poverty to be true, yet had sought 
aid from such an unexpected source, rather than permit him 
to endow her with his love and all that it involved, forced 
him to the miserable conclusion that she had at least decided 
against him. 

But hope dies hard in a lover's breast. He longed to see 
her again, yet how could he see her except in the presence 
of others ? 

He knew they soon would meet ; he was determined that 
they should ; and possibly something in her involuntary 
manner or expression might suggest that she had thought 
of his words in his absence. 

She had thought of his words as we know, but she had 
also been given other food for reflection which the following 
chapter will reveal. 




IN the division of labor between Mara and her aunt, the 
latter, with the assistance of their landlady's daughter, 
tried to leaLve the young girl few tasks beyond that of filling 
Aun' Sheba's basket. 

Mrs. Hunter was also expected to be ready to receive 
callers, and excuse Mara during the morning hours. Under 
the new order of things, more people dropped in than in 
former times, for, as we have seen, it had become a kindly 
fashion to show good will. The caller on a certain morning 
in April was not wholly actuated by sympathy, for she had 
news which she believed would be interesting if not alto- 
gether agreeable. Clancy's attentions had not been unknowoi, 
and he had at first suffered in the estimation of others as well 
as of Aun' Sheba, because of his apparent neglect. The 
impression, however, had been growing, that Mara had with- 
drawn her favor on account of his friendly relations with 
Northern people and his readiness to bury the past. The 
morning visitor had not only learned of a new proof of 
his objectionable tendencies, but also, — so do stories grow 
as they travel, — that he was paying attention to a New 
York belle and heiress. Mrs. Hunter was soon possessed of 
these momentous rumors, and when at last, weary from her 
morning labors, Mara sat down to their simple dinner, she 
saw that her aunt was preternaturally solemn and dignified. 
The girl expressed no curiosity, for she knew that whatever 


burdened her aunt's mind would soon be revealed with 
endless detail and comment. 

"Well," ejaculated Mrs. Hunter at last, "my impressions 
concerning people are usually correct, and it is well for you 
that they are. If it had not been for me you might have 
become entangled in association with a man false and disloyal 
in all respects. I say entangled in association, resulting 
from a moment of weakness, for assuredly the instant you 
gained self-possession and had time for thought, you would 
have repudiated every thing. I saved you from the embar- 
rassment of all this, and now you can realize how important 
was the service I rendered. I have heard of the perform- 
ances of Mr. Clancy at the North." 

The hot flush on Mara's cheeks followed by pallor proved 
that her indifference had been thoroughly banished, but she 
only looked at her aunt like one ready for a blow. 

"Yes," resumed Mrs. Hunter, "the story has come very 
straight — straight from that young Mrs. Willoughby, who, 
with her husband, seems as ready to forget and condone all 
that the South has suffered as your devoted admirer himself. 
Devoted indeed ! He is now paying his devotions at 
another shrine. A Northern girl with her Northern gold is 
the next and natural step in his career, and he said to her 
point-blank that if the South again sought to regain her 
Hberty, he would not help. He wasn't a Samson, but he 
was not long in being shorn by a Northern DeUlah of what 
little strength he had." 

"How do you know that this is true?" asked Mara, rigid 
with suppressed feeling. 

" Oh, Mrs. Willoughby must talk if the heavens fell. It 
seems that she met this Northern girl abroad, and that they 
have become great friends. She has received a letter, and 
it is quite probable that this girl will come here. It would 
be just Hke her to follow up her new admirer. Mrs. Wil- 


loughby is so hot in her advocacy of what she terms the 
* New South,' that she must speak of every thing which 
seems to favor her pestilential ideas. By birth she belongs 
to the Old South and the only true South, and she tries to 
keep in with it, but she is getting the cold shoulder from 
more than one." 

Mara said nothing, but her brow contracted. 

" You take it very quietly," remarked her aunt severely. 

" Yes," said Mara. 

" Well, if I were in your place I would be on fire with 

" Perhaps I would be if I did not care very much," was 
the girl's constrained answer. 

" I do not see how you can care except as I do." 

" You are you, aunty, and 1 am myself. People are not 
all made exactly alike." 

" But a girl should have some self-respect." 

"Yes, aunty, and she should be respected. I am one 
to show my self-respect by deeds, not words. You must 
not lecture me any more now as if I were a child," and she 
rose and left her almost untasted dinner. 

A little thought soon satisfied Mrs. Hunter that the iron 
had entered deep into the soul of her niece, and that 
her deeds would be satisfactory. She therefore finished her 
dinner complacently. 

Mara felt that she had obtained a test which might justly 
compel the giving up of her dream of love forever. She 
was endowed with a simplicity and sincerity of mind which 
prompted to definite actions and conclusions, rather than 
to the tumultuous emotions of anger, jealousy and doubt. 
She would not doubt; she would know. Either Clancy 
had been misrepresented or he had not been, and he had 
seemed so true and frank in his words to her that she would 
not condemn him on the story of a gossip. From her point 


of view she concluded that if he had gone so far as to say to 
a Northern girl that he would not join the South in an effort 
to achieve independence, supposing such an attempt to be 
made, then he had passed beyond the pale of even her 
secret sympathy and regard, no matter what the girl might 
become to him. She scarcely even hoped that there would 
ever be a chance for him to make such a choice of sides as 
his reputed words indicated, but he could contemplate the 
possibility, and if he could even think, in such an imagined 
exigency, of remaining aloof from the cause for which his 
and her own father had died, then he would be dismissed 
from her thoughts as utterly unworthy. 

So she believed during the unhappy hours of the after- 
noon which were robbed of all power to bring rest. She 
determined, if it were possible, to hear the truth from his 
own lips. She would subdue her heart by giving it proof 
positive that he had either drifted or had been lured far 
away. If this were true, — and she would not be influenced 
by her aunt's bitter prejudice, — then it was all over between 
them. If once so completely convinced that he did not 
love her sufficiently to give up his Northern affiliations for 
her sake, her very pride would cast out her own stubborn 

The opportunity to accomplish all she desired soon 
occurred, for later she met him at a house where a few 
guests had been invited to spend the evening. Social life 
had ceased to divide sharply upon the opinions held by 
different persons, and the question as to what guests should 
be brought together had been decided by the hostess chiefly 
on the ground of birth and former associations. On this 
occasion when Clancy's eyes met those of Mara, he bowed, 
and was about to cross the room in the hope of receiving 
something like a welcome after his absence, but he was 
repelled at once and chilled by her cold, slight bow, and her 


prompt return of attention to the gentleman with whom she 
was conversing. 

Clancy was so hurt and perturbed that he was capable 
of but indifferent success in his efforts to maintain conversa- 
tion with others. When supper was served he strayed into 
the deserted library and made a pretence of looking at 
some engravings. A dear and familiar voice brought a 
sudden flush to his face, but the words, " Mr. Clancy, I wish 
to speak with you," were spoken so coldly that he only turned 
and bowed deferentially and then offered Mara a chair. 

She paid no attention to this act, and hesitated a moment 
in visible embarrassment before proceeding. 

" Miss Wallingford," he began eagerly, " I have longed 
and hoped" — 

She checked him by a .gesture as she said, " Perhaps I 
would better speak first. I have a question to ask. You 
need not answer it of course if you do not wish to. I am 
not conventional in seeking this brief interview. Indeed," 
she added a little bitterly, " my life has ceased to be con- 
ventional in any sense, and I have chosen to conform to a 
few simple verities and necessities. As you once said to 
me, you and I have been friends, and, if I can trust your 
words, you have meant kindly by me " — 

" Miss Wallingford, can you doubt my words," he began 
in low, passionate utterance, " can you doubt what I mean 
and have meant? You know I " — 

Her brow had darkened with anger, and she interrupted 
him, saying, "You surely cannot think I have sought this 
interview in the expectation of listening to such words and 
tones. I have come because I wish to be just, because I 
will not think ill of you unless I must, because I wish you 
to know where I stand immovably. If my friendship is 
worth any thing you will seek it by deeds, not words. I 
now only wish to ask if you said in effect, while North, that 


if the South should again engage in a struggle for freedom 
you would not help? " 

Clancy was astounded, and exclaimed, " Miss Wallingford, 
can you even contemplate such a thing? " 

Her face softened as she said, " I knew that you could 
never have said any thing of the kind." 

How tremendous was the temptation of that moment ! 
He saw the whole truth instantaneously, that she was lost 
to him unless he came unreservedly to her position. In 
that brief moment her face had become an exquisite trans- 
parency illumined with an assurance of hope. He had an 
instinctive conviction that even if he admitted that he had 
spoken the words, yet would add, " Mara, I am won at last 
to accept your view of right and duty," all obstacles between 
them would speedily melt away. 

The temptation grappled his heart with all the power of 
human love, and there was an instant of hesitation that was 
human also, and then conscience and manhood asserted 
themselves. With the dignity of conscious victory he said 
gravely, " Miss Wallingford, I have ever treated your con- 
victions with respect even when I differed with you most. 
I have an equal right to my own convictions. I should be 
but the shadow of a man if I had no beliefs of my own. 
You misunderstand me. My first thought as you spoke was 
surprise that you could even contemplate such a thing as 
a renewed struggle between the North and the South." 

" Certainly I could contemplate it, sir, though I can 
scarcely hope for it." 

" I trust not ; and even at the loss of what I value far 
more than you can ever know, I will not be false to myself 
nor to you. I did speak such words, and I must confirm 
them now." 

She bowed frigidly and was turning away when he said, 
" I too, perhaps have the right to ask a question." 


She paused with averted face. " Can you not at least 
respect a man who is as sincere as you are ? " 

Again the vigilant Mrs. Hunter, uneasy that Mara and 
Clancy were not within the range of her vision, appeared 
upon the scene. She glared a moment at the young man, 
and Mara left the room without answering him. 



A " 'fabulation." 

IT had been Mara's belief, indeed almost her hope, that if 
truth compelled Clancy to admit that he had spoken the 
obnoxious words he would become to her as a " heathen man 
and a publican." No matter how much she might suffer, 
she had felt that such proof of utter lack of sympathy with 
her and all the motives which should control him, would 
simplify her course and render it much easier, for she had 
thought that her whole nature would rise in arms against 
him. It would end all compunction, quench hope and even 
deal a fatal blow to love itself. She would not only see it 
her duty to banish him from her thoughts, but had scarcely 
thought it possible that he could continue to dwell in them. 
The result had not justified her expectations, and she 
was baffled, exasperated and torn by conflicting feelings. 
Although he had admitted the words and confirmed them 
to her very face, he had not allowed himself to be put in 
a position which enabled her to turn coldly and contemptu- 
ously away. Brief as had been the interview, he had made 
it impossible for her to doubt two things ; first, that the 
Northern girl was nothing to him and that he had not 
spoken the words to win her favor, for he had come back 
to herself with the same love in his eyes and the same 
readiness to give it expression despite her coldness and 
even harshness. No matter how bitterly she condemned 
herself, this truth thrilled and warmed her very soul. In 


the second place, however mistaken he might be, he had 
compelled her to believe him to be sincere, so loyal, indeed, 
to his own sense of right that not even for her sake would 
he yield. She could not doubt this as the eagerness of the 
lover passed into the grave dignity and firmness of a self- 
respecting man. Moreover, another truth had been thrust 
upon her consciousness, — that she was more woman than 
partisan. As he had stood before her, revealing his love 
and constancy and at the same time asserting his right to 
think and act in accordance with his own convictions, he 
had appeared noble, handsome, manly ; her heart acknowl- 
edged him master, and however vigilantly she might conceal 
the fact, she could not deny it to herself. 

Nevertheless, his course had simplified her action ; it had 
decided her that all was over between them. The case was 
hopeless now; for neither could yield without becoming 
untrue to themselves, and there could be no happy union 
in such radical diversity. The less often they met the better, 
as he only made her course the harder to maintain and the 
separation more painful than it had been before. 

She might hide her unhappiness, but she could not banish 
the resulting despondency and flagging strength. Her aunt 
had half forced an explanation of the reason why she was 
alone with Clancy, and, in hasty self-defence, she admitted a 
resolve to know with certainty whether he had spoken the 
words charged against him. When Mrs. Hunter learned 
that he had acknowledged the truth of the story, she spoke 
of him with redoubled bitterness, making it hard indeed for 
Mara to listen, for her heart took his side almost passionately. 
Unintentionally Mrs. Hunter proved herself the young man's 
best ally, yet Mara outwardly was compelled to acquiesce, 
for she herself had proved the enormity which was to end 
every thing. Consistency, however, was torn to tatters one 
day, and she said in sudden passion, " Aunty, never men- 

A '''FABULATION." 9 1 

tion Mr. Clancy's name again. I demand this as my 

When Mara spoke in this manner Mrs. Hunter yielded. 
Indeed she was not a little perplexed over the girl who had 
been so passive and subservient. She was not a profound 
reasoner upon any subject, nor could she understand how 
one step, even though Mara had been driven to it by hard 
necessity, led to many others. The girl had begun to assert 
her individual life, and her nature, once awakened, was 
proving a strong one. Deepening and widening experience 
perplexed and troubled her unguided mind, and prepared 
the way for doubtful experiments. 

As before, Aun' Sheba was quick to discover that all was 
not well with Mara, but believed that she, like herself, 
was working beyond her strength. The old woman had a 
bad cold and was feehng "rudder po'ly" one evening when 
her minister came to pay a pastoral visit. 

On so momentous an occasion as this, her son-in-law 
Kern Watson and his wife and children were summoned ; a 
few neighbors also dropped in as they often did, for Aun' 
Sheba was better in their estimation than any newspaper in 
town. Since the necessity for much baking had been re- 
moved, she had hired out her stove in order to make more 
room and to enjoy the genial fire of the hearth. So far from 
being embarrassed because her head was tied up in red 
flannel, she had the complacent consciousness that she was 
the social centre of the group, an object of sympathy and 
the respected patron of all present. 

The Reverend Mr. Birdsall, the minister, treated Aun' 
Sheba with much consideration ; he justly regarded her as 
one of the " pillars of the church," knowing well from long 
experience that she abounded in liberality if not in long 
prayers and contentions. He was a plain, sincere, positive 
man who preached what he beheved to be the truth. If he 


was sometimes beyond it, beneath it or away from it alto- 
gether, he was as serenely unconscious of the fact as were his 
hearers. There was no agnosticism in his congregation, for 
he laid down the law and the gospel in a way that dis- 
couraged theological speculation. Nevertheless, among his 
followers there were controversial spirits who never doubted 
that they were right, however much they might question his 
ecclesiastical methods and views. To many, freedom meant 
the right to have their say, and, as is often true, those having 
the least weighty matter on their minds were the most ready 
to volunteer opinions and advice. Aun' Sheba was a doer, 
not a talker, in her church relations. If she occasionally 
dozed a little in her pew during the sermon, she was always 
wide awake when the plate was passed around ; and if a 
" brother " or a " sister" were sick she found time for a visit 
nor did she go empty-handed. If it were a case of back- 
sliding she had a homely way of talking sense to the delin- 
quent that savored a litde of worldly wisdom. There were 
not a few who shared in her doubt whether she was " 'ligious" 
or not, but the Reverend Mr. Birdsall was not of these. He 
would only have been too glad to have discovered more 
religion like hers. 

" Mis' Buggone," he said sympathetically, after Aun' 
Sheba had given her symptoms with much detail, " in you 
is a case whar de spirit is willin' but de flesh is weak. You'se 
been a-goin' beyon' you strengt." 

" Yes, Elder, dat is de gist ob de whole business," affirmed 
Kern Watson. " Moder's tromped de streets wid her big 
basket, till she is dun beat out. She's undertook mo'n her 
share an' is 'sportin' too many people." 

" Kern, you means well," said Aun' Sheba with dignity, 
" but you mus' not 'fleet on young Missy. She am de las' 
one in de worl' to let a body 'sport her while she fol' her 
ban's. She's po'ly too, jes' kase she's workin' harder'n me." 

A ''' FAB UL AT/ON." 93 

Uncle Sheba hitched uneasily in his chair, feeling that the 
conversation rather reflected on him, and he was conscious 
that old Tobe, keeper ot the " rasteran," was glaring at him. 
•^ I reckin," he said, " dat de min'ster might offer a word 
ob prar an' comfort fore he go." 

" What pressin' business," asked his wife, severely, " hab 
you got, Unc, dat you in sech a hurry fer de min'ster ter 
go ? We aint into de shank ob de ebenin' yet, an' dar's no 
'casion to talk 'bout folks goin'." 

*' I dun said notin' 'bout folks goin'," complained Uncle 
Sheba in an aggrieved tone, " I was ony a suggestin' wot 'ud 
be 'propriate ter de 'casion fore dey go." 

" Mr. Buggone is right, and prar is always 'propriate," 
said Mr. Birdsall in order to preserve the serenity of the 
occasion. " Before this little company breaks up we will sing 
a hymn and hab a word ob prar. But we mus' use de right 
means in dis worl' an' conform ter de inexc'^able law ob de 
universe. Here's de law and dar's de gospel, and dey both 
have dar place. If a brick blow off a chimley it alus falls 
ter de groun'. Dat's one kin' ob law. Water runs down 
hill, dat's much de same kin' ob law. If a man hangs roun' 
a saloon an' wastes his time an' money, he's boun' to git 
seedy an' ragged an' a bad name, an' his fam'ly gets po' an' 
mis'ble ; dat's another kin' ob law, — no 'scapin' it. He's 
jest as sure ter run down hill as de water. Den if we git a 
cut or a bum or a bruise we hab pain ; dat's anuder kin' ob 
law, an' we all know it's true. But dar's a heap ob good 
people. Mis' Buggone, who think dey can run dis po' 
machine ob a body in a way dat would wear out wrought- 
iron, and den pray de good Lawd ter keep it strong and iled 
and right up to the top-notch ob po'r. Now dat's against 
both law and gospel, for eben He who took de big contrac' 
ter save the worl' said ter his disciples, ' come ye yourselves 
apart and rest a while.' I reckon dat's de law and de gospel 


for you, Mis' Buggone, about dis time." Nods of approval 
were general, and Kern Watson gave the sense of the meet- 
ing in his hearty way. 

" 'Deed it am, Elder," he said. " You'se hit de nail squar 
on de head. Own up, now, moder, dat you'se neber been 
preached at mo' convincin'. Hi ! wot a book dat Bible 
am ! It's got a word in season fer ebry 'casion." 

" Well," said Aun' Sheba, meditatively, " I wants ter be 
open ter de truf, an' I does own up, Kern, dat de Elder puts 
it monstis peart an' bery conwincin'. But," she continued 
argumentatively, laying the forefinger of her left hand on 
the broad palm of her right, " dars gen'ly two sides to a 
question. Dat's whar folks git trip up so of n — dey sees 
ony one side. I've 'served dat it's po'ful easy fer folks ter 
tell oder folks wat ter do and wat not ter do. No 'fence, 
Elder. You been doin' you duty, but you'se been layin' 
down rudder 'stended princ'ples. I know you'se got ter 
preach broad an' ter lay down de truf fer de hull winyard, 
but I wants ter know wat ter do wid my own little patch ob 
ground. Now here's me and dar's my young Missy 'pendin' 
on me." 

"Dat's whar I jes' doesn't 'gree wid Aun' Sheba," put in 
her husband as she paused a moment for breath. He felt 
that public opinion was veering over to his side and might 
be employed to enforce his views. " It is all bery well fer 
one ter do all dey can 'sistently fer oders, but " — 

*' Mr. Buggone," remarked Aun' Sheba sternly. 

Uncle Sheba subsided, and she went on, "Dere's my 
young Missy dat's pendin' on me, but she ain't pendin' in 
de sense ob hangin' on me," and she paused and looked 
impressively at Unc. " She's usin' her two little han's jest 
as hard as she know how, an' a heap too hard. Wat's mo' 
she's usin' dem to good puppus. I jes declar to you, Elder 
an' frens, dat since she took hole, de business am rollin' up 


an' it gettin' too big fer both ob us. Dat's whar de shoe 
pinches. I ain't loss notin'. I'se made a heap mo' by 
doin' fer young Missy. In dis Tabulation, I doesn't want no 
'flections on her, kase dey wouldn't be far. Now, Kern, 
you'se right smart. You'se had my 'proval eber sence you 
took a shine ter Sissy. Ud you belebe it, Elder and frens, 
dat son-in-law ob mine offered ter 'sport me an' me do 
nufifin but jes' help Sissy and look arter de chil'n. But dat 
iiin't my way. I likes ter put my own money in my own 
pocket an' I likes ter take it out agin, an' it jes' warm my 
heart like a hick'ry fiah ter help dat honey lam' ob mine 
dat I nussed. So you see. Elder, dat gen'l preachin' am like 
meal. Folks has got ter take it an' make out ob it a little 
hoe-cake fer dere selves. It's de same ole meal, but we's 
got ter hab it in a shape dat 'plies ter our own inards, 
sperital and bodily." 

Again there were nods of assent and sounds of approval 
which old Tobe put into words. "Aun' Sheba," he said, 
" you puts you'se 'pinions monst'us peart, too. I'se an ole 
man an' has had my shar ob 'sperence, an' I'se alus 'served 
dat de hitch come in at de 'plyin' part. Dere's a sight ob 
preachin' dat soun' as true an' straight as dat de sun an' 
rain make de cotton grow, but when you git down to de 
berry indewidooel cotton plant dere's ofen de debil to pay 
in one shape or oder. Dere's a wum at de root or a wum 
in de leaves, or dey's too much rain or too much sun, or de 
sile's like a beef bone dat's been biled fer soup mo' dan's 
reasonable. Now Aun' Sheba's de indewidooel cotton-plant 
we's a-'siderin', an' I doan see how she's gwine to res' 
a while any mo'n I kin. Ef I shet up my rasteran de busi- 
ness gwine ter drap off ter some oder rasteran." 

" But, bruder Tobe, isn't it better, even as you put it," 
protested the minister, " dat Mis Buggone's business should 
drop off an' yours too, dan dat you should drop off you- 


selves ? Howsumever, 1 see de force ob what you both say, 
and we mus' try ter hit upon a golden mean. I reckon 
dar's a way by which you can both keep your business and 
yet keep youselves from goin' beyon' your 'bility. You are 
both useful citizens and supporters ob de gospel, and I'm 
concerned fer your welfare, bodily as well as sperital." 

" Aun' Sheba," said her daughter, "you'se my moder an' 
I ought ter be de fust one ter help ease you up. I just 
dun declar dat you'se got ter take Vilet ter help you up. 
I kin spar her, an' I will spar her. She's strong an' gwine 
on twelve, an' de babies is gitten so dat dey ain't aroun' 
under my feet all de time. Vilet's spry an' kin run here 'an 
dar an' fill de orders. She'd ease you up right smart." 

"Now, Sissy," said her husband, who always called her 
by the old household name, " dat's bery sens'ble and child- 
like in you to put yousef out fer you'se muder. I'd been 
tinkin' 'bout Vilet, but I didn't like de suggestin ob her 
leabin' you to do so much ob de work. But go ahead. 
Sissy ; go ahead, Vilet, an' you'll fin' me easy goin' at meal 

"Come here, Vilet," said the minister. 

The girl had been sitting on the floor at Aun' Sheba's 
feet, listening quietly and intelligently to all that had been 
said. She was tall for her age, and had the quiet steadfast- 
ness of gaze that was characteristic of her father. He was 
exceedingly fond and proud of her, for, with very little 
schooling, she had learned to read and write. Even as a 
child she had much of his patience and unselfishness, thus 
making herself very useful at home. She looked unshrink- 
ingly at the minister, but trembled slightly, for she felt all 
eyes were upon her. 

"Vilet," began Mr. Birdsall, "you are said to be a good 
chile, an' I like the sens'ble, quiet way in which you stan' up 
an' look me in de face. I reckon dar ain't much foolishness 


in you. Your fader and moder hab shown de right spirit, 
de self-denying spirit dat de Lawd will bless. Can you say 
the fifth commandment, chile ? " Vilet repeated it promptly. 

" Dat's right. Now your fader an' moder are honahing 
dar moder, an' you are goin' to hab a chance ter honah dem 
an' your granma, too. You will hab temptations in de 
streets ter be pert an' idle, ter stop an' talk to dis one and 
ter answer back to dat one in a way you shouldn't. But if 
you go along quiet an' steady, an' do what you're tole, an' be 
car'ful 'bout de money an' de messages an' de orders an' so 
forth, you will reflect honah on us all an' 'specially on all 
your folks. You understan', Vilet? " 

" Yes, sir." 

The minister put his hand on her head, and said solemnly, 
" You have my blessin', Vilet." 

She ducked a little courtesy, and again squatted at the 
feet of Aun' Sheba, who, much affected, was wiping her 
eyes with her apron, while Sissy's emotion was audible. 

" Now, frens," resumed Mr. Birdsall, " this 'mergency of 
Mis Buggone's health has been met in de right human and 
Scriptural spirit. Frens and fam'ly hab gathered 'roun' de 
'flicted one, an' hab paid dar respect ter her usefulness an' 
value, an' hab shown her becomin' sympathy. Her own 
fam'ly, as is also becomin', hab been first ter ease her up 
accordin', first, to the law of primigeneshureship. I know 
dat dis is a long word, but long words of en mean a heap, 
an' dat's why dey are so long. Dat good little girl, Vilet, is 
de oldes' granchile, an' she fulfils a great law in helpin' her 
granma. Den it's accordin' to the gospel, for a loving an' 
self-denyin' spirit has been shown. Mr. Watson has obeyed 
de great law of matrimony. He has married into dis 
fam'ly, an' he pulls with it an' for it instead ob against it 
as we see too of en. De Lawd's blessin' will rest on dis 


" I feels greatly comforted," said Aun' Sheba. " Dis 
has been a bressed season an' a out-pourin'. I mos' feels 
'ligious dis ebenin'. De chilen an' dis deah chile " (patting 
Vi'let's head) " warm me up betteh'n flannel an' de fiah. 
Elder, you'se a good shep'd ob de flock. You'se a lookin' 
arter body an' soul. You'se got de eddication to talk big 
words to us, an', now we'se free, we hab a right to big words, 
no mattah how much dey mean. It's po'ful comfortin' ter 
know we'se doin' 'cordin to de law an' de gospel." 

" 'Pears ter me," said old Tobe, " dat Uncle Sheba might 
hab a little law an' gospel 'plied ter him. He am one ob 
de fam'ly. I'se a heap ol'er dan he be, an' I'se up wid de 
sun an' I ony wish I could set when de sun sets. 'Pears 
like he orter tote some ob de tings ez well ez his sHp ob 
a gran-daughter," and old Tobe's wool seemed fairly to 
bristle with indignation and antipathy. 

" I've no doubt," began Mr. Birdsall, "but Mr. Buggone'll 
emulate " — 

" Elder," interrupted Aunt Sheba, with portentous solem- 
nity, "dere's bobscure 'flictions in dis worl' dat can't be 
'splained, an' de 'flictions ofen begin wen we say 'for 
bettah or wusser.' You'se say youself in de pulpit dat de 
gret an' bressed sinner, Paul, had a thorn in de flesh an' he 
couldn't git rid ob it nohow, dat he jes' bar wid it an' go 
'bout his business. Ole Tobe am ole, but he wasn't bawn 
tired. Dere's men dat's po'ful weak in de jints ob de body, 
yit dat doesn't hender dem from gittin' 'round, but wen de 
weak feelin' gits inter de jints obde min' den dey's shuah to 
be kinder hmpsy-slimpsy an' dey ain't no help fer it. Ez 
I sez afore de 'fliction am bobscure. You see de feet an' 
you see de han's, an' you tink dat dey kin go an' do like 
oder han's an' feet, but dey doesn't an' dey can't. Dere 
ain't no back-bone runnin' up troo de min' an' wen dere 
ain't no back-bone in de min' de pusson jes flop down yere 


an' flop down dar whareber dere's a com'fo'ble place to flop. 
Dere's 'flictions dat we kin pray agin an' pray out'n ob, an' 
dere's oders we jes got ter bar, an' we gits so kinder used 
to'm at las dat we'd be mo' mis'ble ef dey wuz tooken away. 
We'se got to take de bittah wid de sweet, but, tank de 
Lawd ! de sweet 'domemate in dis yere fam'ly. Now let's 
hab some praise an' prar. Vilet, honey, sing de hymn 
you'se moder lern you." 

And in a somewhat shrill, yet penetrating, musical voice, 
the girl sang, — 

I'se a journeyin', I'se a journeyin', 

An' de way am bery long ; 
De road ain't known, de way ain't shown, 

Yit I journeys wid a song. 

Chorus: De journey, de journey, howeber rough de road, 
It's a leadin', it's a leadin', to a hebinly abode. 

I'se a travel in', I'se a travelin'. 

From de cradle to de grave, 
De road am rough and sho' a nuff, 

De heart, hit mus' be brave. 

I'se a wondrin', I'se a wondrin', 

Wen de journey will be troo ; 
But I goes along wid sigh an' song, 

An' a cheery word fer you. 

Kern Watson and his wife were gifted with those rich, 
mellow, African voices made so familiar in plantation songs 
and hymns. In the case of " Sissy " there was a pathetic, 
contralto, minor quality in her tones, and the first time 
young Watson heard her sing a spell was thrown round his 
fancy which led to all the rest. The same might be said of 
her, for when her husband, then a stranger, poured forth, in 
one of their evening meetings, the great rich volume of his 


voice, she ceased to sing that she might listen with avidity. 
It was not long after that before Kern mustered courage to 
ask " Mis Buggone, mout I hab de pleasure ob 'companyin' 
you home ? " Not many months elapsed before he accom- 
panied her home to stay, with Aun' Sheba's full consent. 

Other hymns followed in which Uncle Sheba took part 
with much unction, for he wished to impress all present that 
in spite of the " bobscure affliction" he "injied 'ligion " as 
much as any of them. Mr. Birdsall offered a characteristic 
prayer, and then Aun' Sheba nodded to Sissy who brought 
out a large supply of cakes and apples. Some gossip among 
the women and political discussion among the men occurred 
while these were being disposed of, and then the litde 
company broke up, leaving Aun' Sheba much improved in 
health and spirits. 




THE next day was warm and sunny, and Ann' Sheba 
rising much refreshed, felt herself equal to her duties 
in spite of her fears to the contrary. She took Vilet with 
her to a shop, and there purchased a much smaller basket, 
the weight of which when filled would not be burdensome 
to the girl. Thus equipped she appeared before Mara at 
the usual hour with her grandchild, and began complacently, 
" Now honey lam' you'se gwine to hab two strings to you'se 
bow. I sometimes feel ole an' stiff in my jints an' my heft 
is kinder agin me in trompin'. Here's my grandaughter, an' 
she's spry as a cricket. She kin run yere an' dar wid de 
orders'n less dan no time, so you won't be kept kin' ob 
scruged back an' down kase Fse slow an' hebby. You 

"Yes, Aun' Sheba, and I am very glad to see. I have 
been worrying about you, for it has seemed to me that you 
were going beyond your strength, and yet I did not know 
of any one to help you or whether you wanted any one." 

" Now, honey, you jes' took de words out'n my mouth 
'bout you. You'se lookin- po'ly, an' I'se drefifle 'feared 
you'se gwine ter get beat out. You want help mo'n me, an* 
I'se had it on my min' ter talk wid you." 

"Oh, Aun' Sheba, I'm very well," protested Mara, yet 
glad to think that her paleness and languor were ascribed 
to fatigue. 


" Now see yere, honey, I'se got my blin' side, I know, 
but it ain't towards you. I watch ober you too many yeahs 
not to know wer you po'ly. You'se gwine beyon' you 
strengt, too. Why can't you get some one ter he'p you an' 
den we go along swimmin' ? " 

" Well, I'll see. I reckon I'll be better soon, and I don't 
care to do more than can be done in a quiet way." 

The new arrangement on Aun' Sheba's side of the " pana'- 
ship " soon began to work well. Vilet proved quick and 
trustworthy, saving her grandmother many a weary step, and 
Mara was compelled to see that the mutual income might be 
greatly increased if she also had efficient help. She recog- 
nized the truth that she was becoming worn, and she also 
knew the cause to be that she worked without the spring of 
hopefulness or even the quietness of a heart at rest. She 
had almost decided to intrust Aun' Sheba with the task of 
finding a suitable helper when she made two acquaintances 
who were destined to become intimately associated with her 

One afternoon she felt so lonely, desolate and hopeless 
that she felt she must go out of herself. The future was 
taking on an aspect hard to face. Disposed to self-sacrifice 
she was wretchedly conscious that there was nothing on 
which she could bestow a devotion which could sustain 
or inspire. There was no future to look forward to, no 
cause to be furthered, no goal to be reached by brave, 
patient effort. If she had lived at the time of the war she 
would have loved scarcely less than her mother, but her 
heart would have been almost equally divided between the 
cause and those who fought and suffered for it. If her lot 
had been cast in the North it would have been much the 
same. The same patriotic motives would have kindled her 
imagination and produced the most intense loyalty in thought 
and action. She was endowed with a spirit which, had she 


lived in the past, might easily have led her into an effort 
to restore some overthrown dynasty, and she would have so 
idealized even a very questionable conspiracy as to render 
it worthy, in her belief, of unstinted self-sacrifice. A girl of 
her character would have faced the wild beasts of the Roman 
amphitheatre for the sake of her faith, or she would have 
intrigued against the Spanish Inquisition although hourly 
conscious that she was exposing herself to its horrors. It was 
this very tendency to give herself up wholly to some object 
which she felt had a supreme claim upon her, that had en- 
abled her to live so long upon the memories of the past. 
The lost cause, for which her father had died, had been as 
sacred to her as the old dream of freedom to a Pole, but 
Clancy's question in regard to the old phase of her life, 
"What good will it do?" combining with other circum- 
stances, had awakened her to the futility of her course. 
Denied the hope of any future achievement, lacking a 
powerful motive to sacrifice herself and her love, her strong 
nature chafed and tended to despondency at the thought 
of a simple existence. It was not enough merely to earn a 
living and live. She craved an inspiring object, an antidote 
for her heartache, a consciousness that in giving up much 
she also accomplished much. Yet the future stretched 
away like an arid plain and she was depressed by the fore- 
boding that every step carried her farther from all that 
could give zest to life. She was, therefore, in a mood to 
accept any thing which would relieve the dreary monotony. 

On the afternoon in question she decided to call upon an 
old lady who had lost nearly all her kindred and property. 
" Surely," thought the girl, " she has nothing to look forward 
to in this world but a few more straitened years, then death. 
I wish I were as old as she." 

Taking a little delicacy she started out to pay the visit, 
hoping to gain an insight into the philosophy of patient 


endurance. She veiled herself heavily, for she was ever 
haunted by the fear of meeting Clancy on the street, and 
that her tell-tale face might lead him to guess the cost of 
her effort to avoid him. 

An old colored woman showed the way into the parlor 
while she went up to prepare her mistress for the call. 
Reading by the window was a middle-aged gentleman who 
bowed gravely and resumed his book. 

He riveted Mara's attention instantly, for her first glance 
revealed that he had lost his right leg and that crutches 
leaned against the arm of his chair. He could not be other 
than a veteran of the Confederate army, as it would be 
strange indeed to find an ex-soldier of the North in that 
abode. His strong, finely-cut side face, distinctly outlined 
against the Hght, was towards her. It was marked by deep 
lines as if the man had suffered and had passed through 
memorable experiences. He wore no beard or whiskers, but 
an iron-gray mustache gave a distinguished cast to a visage 
whose habitual expression was rather cold and haughty. 

Mara had time to note these characteristics before she 
was summoned to Mrs. Bodine's apartment. Although the 
day was mild, the old lady, wrapped in shawls, sat by an 
open fire, and her wrinkled face lighted up with pleasure as 
the girl came towards her. Indeed, there was something 
like excitement in her manner as she kissed her guest and 
said, " Bring your chair close, my dear, so I can see you 
and hold your hand. I've something to tell you which I 
reckon will interest you almost as much as it does me." 

When Mara was seated in a low chair she resumed, " How 
much you would look like your father, child, if your eyes 
were bright and laughing instead of being so large and sad ! 
Well, well, there has been enough to make all our eyes sad, 
and you, poor child, have had more than enough. Yet you 
are good and brave, my dear. So far from sitting down in 


helpless grieving, you are taking care of yourself and have 
time to think of an old woman like me. Poor Mrs. Hunter ! 
what would she do without you ? She, like so many of us, 
has been blighted and stranded, and she would have been 
worse off than I if it had not been for you, for I have a little 
left, but oh, it is so little. Never did I wish it were more so 
much as I do now. You must be patient with me, child. I 
sit here so much alone that it is a godsend to have some one 
to talk to, and you are the very one I wanted to see. I was 
going to send for you, for I knew you would like to see my 
guests. My cousin and his daughter are visiting me, and I 
wish they could stay with me always. I knew you would 
hke to meet Captain Bodine " — 

" Captain Bodine ! " exclaimed Mara, " why, that is the 
name of an officer who used to be in my father's regiment." 

" He is the very same, my dear." 

"Was that he in the parlor?" Mara asked, trembHng 
with excitement. 

" Yes, he and his daughter arrived only yesterday." 

" Oh ! " said Mara, " I've received letters from him, and 
I've longed to see him for years. Can I not go down and 
speak to him at once ? I surely do not need any introduc- 
tion to the old friend of my father." 

" No, my dear, no indeed. You need no formal introduc- 
tion to any guest or relative of mine. Besides, he knows 
you well and all about you, although he has never seen you 
since you were a child. It would please him gready to have 
you go down and speak to him at once, for he would know 
that I would tell you about his being here, and he might 
think you cold or formal if you delayed seeing him. I'm 
glad you feel so, my dear, but you must come back and sit 
with me a while before you go home. I'll ring for Hannah 
and have a nice little feast while you are down stairs." 

Mara scrupulously veiled her impatience until her kind, 


garrulous friend was through, and then stole with swift, noise- 
less tread to the parlor below. Standing in the doorway she 
saw that the object of her quest was absorbed in his book. 
" He is my ideal of the soldier of that day," she thought. 
" How truly he represents us, with his sad, proud face and 
mutilated body ! " In a sort of awe she hesitated a moment 
and then said timidly, " Captain Bodine." 

He looked up quickly, and seeing Mara's lustrous eyes 
and flushed face divined instantly who she was. 

"Is not this Miss Wallingford ? " he asked, his face ex- 
pressing glad anticipation as he began to gather up his 

" Do not rise," cried Mara coming forward instandy with 
outstretched hands. 

But he was on his crutches, and said feelingly, " Heaven 
forbid that I should receive the daughter of my old friend 
with so litde respect." He took the girl's face into his 
hands, and looked earnesdy into her eyes. "Yes," he re- 
sumed gently, "you are Sidney Wallingford's child. God 
bless you, my dear," and he kissed her lightly on the fore- 
head. " You won't mind this from an old comrade of your 
father," he said as he made her take his chair and sat down 
near her. " We have been bereft of so much that what 
remains has become very precious. I know all about you, 

Tears were in the girl's eyes as she replied falteringly, 
" And I know of you, sir, and have longed to meet you. You 
can scarcely know how much your words mean to me when 
you say you were my father's comrade and friend. I knew 
this, but it seems more real to me now, and I feel that 
seeing you is coming as near as I can to seeing him." 

" My poor child ! Would to God that he had lived, for 
you would have been his pride and solace, as my daughter 
is to me. When I saw you last you were a little black-eyed 


girl and happily did not understand your loss, although you 
looked as if you did. I never thought so many years would 
pass before I saw you again, but we have had to fight some 
of our hardest battles since the war," and he sighed deeply. 

"How soon can I meet your daughter?" Mara asked, 
her eyes full of sympathy. 

"■ Very soon. I urged her to take a walk on the Battery, 
for she has not been very well of late. I said I knew all 
about you, as I have been told of your loyalty and brave 
efforts and your kindness to my aged cousin, but now that 
I see you, I feel that I know very little. Your face is full 
of stories, my dear child. You are young, and yet you look 
as if the memories of the past had made you far older than 
your years warrant. That is the trouble with us. We have 
much more to look back upon than to look forward to. 
Yet it should not be so with you." 

" It can scarcely be otherwise," Mara answered sadly j 
" you have touched the very core of our trouble, and I sup- 
pose it is the trouble with us all who are so closely linked 
with the past, — we have so little to look forward to. But 
now that you can tell me about my father the past seems so 
near and real that I do not wish to think about any thing 

Time sped rapidly as Captain Bodine recalled the scenes 
and incidents of his life which were associated with his old 
commander, and Mara listened with an absorbed, tearful 
interest which touched him deeply. The proud, reserved 
expression of his face had passed away utterly, and the girl 
appreciated the change. His sympathy, the gentleness of 
his tones and the profound respect which was blended with 
his paternal manner made her feel that her father's friend 
was already her friend in a very near and sacred sense. 
While he was reserved about his own affairs and she also 
was conscious of a secret of which she could never speak, 


they had so much in common that she felt that they could 
talk for hours. But the old lady in the apartment above 
grew impatient, and at last Hannah stood courtesying in the 
door as she said, " Missus p'sent her compl'ments an' say 
would be glad to see you." 

"There, I've been selfish and thoughtless," said Captain 
Bodine, " but I shall see you again, for it will give Ella and 
me great pleasure to call upon you." 

" Yes, indeed, we must meet often," Mara added earnestly. 
" I hope you are going to make a long stay in Charleston." 

'* I scarcely know," he replied, and again there was an 
involuntary sigh ; " but I must keep vou no longer." 

ALL GIRLS together:' IOQ 



" T'M not going to lose my visit altogether," said Mrs. 
i Bodine, when Mara returned with an apology. " If 
the captain has only one leg, he can get out and around 
better than I can. Indeed it is wonderful how he does get 
around. He is the spryest man on crutches I ever saw, 
and you know, my dear, I've seen a good many. In that 
dreadful war we were only too glad to get our men back, 
what was left of them, and if an arm or a leg were missing 
we welcomed them all the more, but we couldn't give much 
more than a welcome. It was wreck and ruin on every 
side. If we had our own the captain would be well off, as 
you and I would be, but he is poor ; poorer than most of us. 
In fact, he hasn't any thing. He wasn't one of those supple 
jointed men who could conform to the times, and he wasn't 
brought up to make his living by thrifty ways. But he did 
his best, poor boy, he did his best. Would you like to hear 
more about him?" 

"Yes, indeed," Mara rephed, "you can't know how 
deeply I am interested in him and his daughter. He was 
my father's comrade in arms, his friend and follower. You 
must pardon me for staying away so long, but when he 
began talking of my fatlier I felt as if I could listen forever, 
you know. I honor him all the more because he is poor." 

"Yes, my dear, I know. Most of us are learning the 
hard lessons of poverty. I call him a boy because it seems 


only the other day he was a boy and a handsome one, too. 
He used to visit us here, and was so full of fun and frolic ! 
But he has had enough to sober him, poor fellow. He was 
scarcely more than a boy when the war began, but he was 
among the first to enlist, and, like your father, he was a 
private soldier at first. He soon received a commission in 
the same regiment of which your father became colonel, 
and no doubt would have reached a much higher rank if 
he had not lost his leg. He met with this loss before your 
brave father was killed, but I suppose he told you. 

" Yes," faltered Mara, " he told me why he was not with 
my father at the last." 

" Yes, if he could he would have been with him and died 
with him, and sometimes I almost think he wishes that such 
had been his fate, he has suffered so much. During the 
remainder of the war he had command of inland positions 
which did not require marching, and he always made the 
record of a brave, high-minded officer. After the war he 
married a lovely girl, and tried to keep the old plantation ; 
but his capital was gone, taxes were high, the negroes 
wouldn't work, and I suppose he and his wife didn't know 
how how to practise close economy, and so the place had to 
be sold. It didn't bring enough to pay the mortgages. It 
cut him to the quick to part with the old plantation on 
which the family had lived for generations, but far worse 
was soon to follow, for his wife died, and that nearly broke 
his heart. Since that time he has lived in Georgia with his 
only child, Ella, getting such occupation as he could, — 
office work of various kinds, but I suppose his reserved, 
gloomy ways rendered him unpopular ; and even our own 
people, when it comes to business, prefer an active man who 
has a ready word for every one. I conjecture much of this, 
for he is not inclined to talk about himself. Poor as I am, 
I'm glad they accepted my invitation, and I mean to do all 

''ALL GIRLS together:' III 

in my power to get him employment here. I have a little 
influence yet with some people, and perhaps a place can be 
found or made for him. He and his daughter don't require 
very much, and God knows I'd share my last crust with 
them, and," she concluded with a little apologetic laugh, "it 
is almost like sharing a crust." 

" Oh, he will -get employment," cried Mara enthusiasti- 
cally ; " his disabled condition in itself will plead eloquently 
for him. How old is Ella? " 

" She must be eighteen or thereabouts." 

" I wonder if she wouldn't like to help me? " 

"Help you? She'd be delighted. But then, my dear, 
you must not be carried away by your generous feeling. 
We're all proud of you because you have struck out so 
bravely for yourself; but surely you have burdens enough 
already." * 

" Perhaps Ella can lighten my burden, and I hers ; but it 
is very homely, humble work." 

"You dear child!" exclaimed Mrs. Bodine, with her 
little chirruping laugh, " you are not a very homely, humble 
doer of the work. I reckon there's no prouder girl in 
town. But that's the way it is with the captain and all of 
us in fact. The poorer we are, the prouder we are. Well, 
well, our pride is about all we can keep in these times. You 
need have no fear, however, that Ella will hesitate in help-« 
ing you, except as she may very naturally think herself 
incompetent, or that you are wronging yourself in trying to 
help her." 

" We'll see about it," Mara remarked thoughtfully ; " I 
will invite her to spend a morning with me, and then she 
cair obtain a practical idea of my work. She might not like 
it at all, or she might like to do something else much better, 
and so would be embarrassed if I asked her to help me, 
disliking to refuse, and yet wishing to do so." 


"Ah, well," said Mrs. Bodine smiling; "we have some 
right to think ourselves * quaHty ' still, as old Hannah calls 
us. We are just as considerate of one another's feelings as 
if we were all Royal Highnesses. Have it your o\vn way, 
my dear, if you truly think Ella can be of service to you. I 
reckon you need help, for you don't look as well as when 
I saw you last." 

" Yes," acquiesced Mara, " I think I do need help. Aun' 
Sheba's granddaughter is assisting her, and a good deal 
more could be sold if it were properly prepared. It would 
be a great happiness if my need opened the way for Ella, 
for I feel it would please my father as much as it would 
please me if I could be of service to his old friend and his 

" I have heard, dear, that you are always trying to do 
what you thought your father and mother would like." 

" God forbid I should do otherwise," said the girl 

" Well, perhaps they know all about it," said the old lady, 
wiping a tear from her eye. " How close our troubles bring 
us together. You are lonely for your parents, and I am 
lonely for my husband and children." 

" And yet you are braver and more cheerful than I," 
responded Mara ; " I was so sad and discouraged over the 
future this afternoon, that I came to you, thinking that you 
might unconsciously teach me patience and courage. Truly 
I was guided, for you face every thing like a soldier. Then 
in meeting Captain Bodine, I seem to have been brought 
nearer my father than ever before. I can't hear about him 
without tears, yet I would turn from any pleasure in the 
world to hear about him. What happiness if he had lived 
and I could help him in some way ! " 

" Well, my dear, we all have our own way of bearing our 
burdens, and I often wonder whether I have done more 


laughing or crying in my life. It has been one or the other 
most of the time. I have always thanked the Lord that when 
the pain or the trouble was not too severe, I could laugh, 
and soon I know all tears will be wiped away. It's harder 
for you, my dear ; it is harder for you than me. My voyage 
has been long and stormy ; husband, sons, and the cause for 
which they died all lost ; but I'm coming into the harbor. 
You've got your voyage before you. But take courage. 
Who knows but that your early days may be your darkest 
days. They can't always be dark when you are so ready to 
brighten the lives of others. There, I hear Ella's voice." 

A moment later there was a knock at the door, and Ella 
Bodine entered. We have all seen bright-hued flowers 
growing in shaded places, and among cold, grim rocks. 
Such brightness had the young girl who now appears upon 
the scene of our story. One speedily felt that its cause was 
not in externals, but that it resulted from inherent qualities. 
As with Mara, there had been much in her young life sad 
and hard to endure. She had not surmounted her trouble 
by shallowness of soul or callousness, but rather by a 
spiritual buoyancy which kept her above the dark waves, 
and enabled her to enjoy all the sunshine vouchsafed. Yet, 
unlike her father and Mara, she lived keenly in the present. 
She sympathized truly and honestly with her father, and in a 
large measure intelligently recognized the nature of the deep 
shadows projected across his life from the past, but it was 
her disposition to keep as near to him as possible and yet 
remain just beyond the shadows. She possessed a whole- 
some common sense which taught her that the shadows 
were not hers and that they were not good for her father ; 
so she was ever making inroads upon them, beguiling him 
into a smile, surprising him into a laugh, — in brief, pre- 
venting the shadows from deepening into that gloom which 
is dangerous to bodily and spiritual health. She made 


his small earnings go a great way, and banished from his 
life the sordidness of poverty. God outlines an angel in 
many a woman's heart, and often privations and sorrow, more 
surely than luxury, fill out the divine sketch. In the instance 
of Ella Bodine the angelic was so sweetly and inextricably 
interwoven with all that was human, that to mortal compre- 
hension she was better than a wilderness of conventional 
angels. She was depressed now under one of the few forms 
of adversity that could cast her down. Her father was 
out of employment, their slender income had ceased, and 
they were dependent. She felt this cruel position all the 
more because Mrs. Bodine out of her poverty gave her 
hospitality so unstintedly and ungrudgingly. 

To the sensitive, fine-natured girl it was like feeding upon 
the life of another, and that other a generous friend. 

During her walk a score of schemes to earn money had 
presented themselves to her inexperienced mind, but her 
hands had learned only how to eke out a small salary and to 
minister to her father. She had come home resolute to do 
something, but troubled because she knew not what to do. 

She paused a moment on the threshold of Mrs. Bodine's 
apartment, and looked questioningly at Mara, at the same 
time half divining who she was. 

" Come along, Ella," cried Mrs. Bodine, with a little joy- 
ous laugh of anticipation, " and kiss one of your best friends 
although you never saw her before." 

"Is it Mara? " 

Mara's smile and swift approach answered her question.. 
In an instant the two girls were in each other's arms, theii 
warm Southern hearts touched by the electric fire of sym- 
pathy and mutual uncferstanding. Mrs. Bodine clapped 
her little, thin hands and cried, " Oh, that's fine Southern 
girls have not died out yet. Why, even my old withered 
heart had one of the most delicious thrills it ever experi- 


enced. Now, my dears, come and sit beside me and get 

'' Oh, I know you already, Mara Wallingford," said Ella 
with sparkling eyes. 

" And I am learning to know you, Ella. I know you 
already well enough to love you." 

"Well," exclaimed Mrs. Bodine, raising her hands in a 
comic gesture, "I reckon the ice is broken between you." 
They all laughed at this sally, and Mara was so cheered, her 
nerves all tingling with excitement, that she could scarcely 
believe herself to be the half- despairing girl of a few hours 
before. " Now come," resumed Mrs. Bodine, " let us all be 
girls together and have a good talk. At this rate I'll soon be 
younger than either of you. I haven't had my share yet. 
Do you believe it, Ella? Mara has been down stairs petting 
your father for an hour." 

" I wonder where he is. He wasn't in the parlor when I 
came in." 

" I reckon he followed your good example and went out 
for a walk. I heard the door shut. Well, you girls make a 
picture that it does my old eyes good to look at. Here's 
Mara with her creamy white skin and eyes as lustrous now 
as our Southern skies when full of stars, but sometimes, oh 
so sad and dark. Dear child, I wish I could take the gloom 
all out of them, for then I could think your heart was hght. 
But I know how it is ; I know. Your mother gave you her 
sad heart when she gave you life, but you have your father's 
strength and courage, my dear, and you will never give up. 
And here is Ella with complexion of roses and snow and 
eyes like violets with the morning dew still on them, — for- 
give an old woman's flowery speech, for that's the way we 
used to talk when I was young, — yes, here is Ella, a little 
peach blossom, yet brimming over with the wish to become a 
big, luscious peach. Lor, Lor, — oh fie ! Am I saying naughty 


words? But then, my dears, you know my husband was a 
naval officer, and no man ever swore more piously than he. 
Bad words never sounded bad to me when he spoke them, 
— he was such a good Christian ! and he always treated me 
as he expected to be treated when he was on deck. I reckon 
that I and the Commodore are the only ones that ever 
ordered him around," and the old lady cried and laughed at 
the same time, while the faces of her young companions 
were like flowers brightened by the sun while still wet with 

" Let me see," continued the old lady, '' where was I 
when I began to swear a little ; just a little, you know. It is 
a sort of tribute to my husband, and so can't be very wicked. 
Oh, I remember, I was thinking what fun it would have 
been to chaperone you two girls at one of our grand balls 
in the good old times. I would sail around like a great 
ship of the line, convoying two of the trimmest little crafts 
that ever floated, and all the pirates, I mean gallant young 
men, my dears, would hover near, trying to cut you out right 
under my guns, or nose, as land-lubbers would say. Well, 
well, either of you could lead a score of them a chase before 
you signed articles of unconditional surrender," and Mrs, 
Bodine leaned back in her chair and laughed in her silvery 
little bird-like twitter. The girls laughed with her, pleased 
in spite of themselves with visions that, both in their nature 
and by tradition, accorded with the young romantic period 
of life. But memory speedily began to restore gravity to 
Mara's face. Mrs. Bodine recognized this, and her own 
face grew gentle and sorrowful. Laying a hand on each of 
the girls' heads she resumed, " Do not think I am a frivolous 
old woman because I run on so. I do not forget the present 
any more than Mara, I see, cannot. Dear children, the 
circumstances of your lot render you as burdened and, in 
some ways, almost as old as I am. Ella can forget easier 


than you, Mara, but that is because God has put brightness 
into her heart. Let us all face the truth together. I am 
long past being an elegant matron. I am only a poor old 
childless widow with but a few more days of feebleness and 
suffering before me, yet I do not sigh in a bitter, murmuring 
spirit. Old as I am, I am still God's little child, and some- 
times I think this truth makes me as mirthful as a child. 
When the pain is hardest to bear, when the past, oh, the 
past — with all its immeasurable losses, begins to crush my 
very soul, I turn my dim eyes upward and repeat to myself, 
'There is a Heaven of eternal rest and joy,' and so I grow 
serene in my waiting. I have always loved the bright, pleas- 
ant things of this world, — it was my nature to do so, — 
but He who bears the burdens and heartbreak of the whole 
world has gently lifted my love up to Him. Didn't He have 
compassion on the widow of Nain, and say to her, ' Weep 
not'? My gallant husband, my brave boys and this poor 
little widow are all in His hands, and I try to obey His gentle 
command not to weep except sometimes when I can't help 
it and He knows I can't." 

The two girls with their heads in her lap were crying 
softly from sympathy. With light, caressing touches to each 
the old lady continued, " Ella, my dear, you are like me in 
some respects. You too, love the bright pleasant things of 
this world, and you are so divinely blessed with a buoyancy 
of heart that you will make what is hard and humdrum 
bright for yourself and others. You will embroider life with 
sunshine if there is any sunshine at all. Like myself, you will 
be able to smile and laugh whenever the pain is not too 
severe, yet I fear it will be very hard sometimes. But, as 
my husband would say, you are taut, trim and well ballasted, 
and good for a long, safe voyage. You have obeyed the 
Fifth Commandment, and its promise is yours. 

" Mara, dear child, my heart, for some reason, aches for 


you, I knew and loved your grandfather and your father 
and mother. You were born into a heritage of bitterness 
and sorrow, and I fear Mrs. Hunter, with all her good 
qualities, was not so constituted as to be able to counteract 
inherited tendencies. I wish I could have brought you up, 
for then we could have cried or laughed together over what 

"But you have learned to repress and to brood — two 
dangerous habits. You want to do some great thing, and 
alas ! there is seldom a great thing which we poor women 
can do. You are not impelled by ambition or a desire for 
notoriety, but by a sort of passion for self-sacrifice. 

" If you had lived twenty odd years ago no soldier of the 
South could have been braver or more devoted. You are 
not satisfied with mere living and making the best of life 
as it is, I don't know why, but I feel that there are depths 
in your heart which no one understands. Be careful, dear 
child, and be patient. Don't yield to some morbid idea 
of duty, or be involved in some chimerical plan of an 

" Learn Ella's philosophy, and be as content with sunshine 
and daily duty as possible. Ella will do this unconsciously, 
my dear ; you will have to do it consciously, just as a sick 
man seeks health. But you will both have to go forward 
and meet woman's lot. I was once a young girl, fancy free, 
like you. How much has happened since ! I now feel like 
an old hen that would like to gather you both under her 
wing in shelter from all trouble," and again her little laugh 
chimed out while she wiped away the tears which sprang 
from her motherly heart. 

The thump of Captain Bodine's crutches was heard on 
the stair. " Bring him in," said Mrs. Bodine, mopping her 
eyes vigorously, 

Ella ran to the door and admitted him, and then, with a 

''ALL GIRLS together:' 1 19 

pretty custom she had, took away a crutch, and substituting 
one of her own round shoulders supported him to a large 
arm-chair. The low western sun flooded the room with 
light. He looked questioningly at the dewy eyes of the 
two girls and at the evidences of emotion which Mrs. Bodine 
had not been fully able to remove, 

"Well," said he, "what part am I to have in this mournful 
occasion? " 

Ella stood beside him with her arm about his neck, and 
was about to speak, when Mrs. Bodine said quickly in her 
piquant way, " You are to be chief mourner," 

" A role for which I am peculiarly fitted," he replied 
sadly, not catching her humor. 

" Oh, papa, you don't understand," cried Ella, " we have 
been having just a heavenly time." 

He looked at Mara as she stood beside the old lady, and 
his very soul was touched by the sympathy expressed for 
him in her beautiful eyes. Standing there, enveloped in 
sunshine, it seemed to him that no angel of God could 
regard him more kindly. It was not pity, but rather honor, 
affection and that deep commiseration of which but few 
women are capable. He felt instinctively that she knew all 
and that her woman's heart was suffering vicariously with him 
and for him. The very air was electrical with deep human 
feeling, and he, yielding to a strong impulse scarcely under- 
stood, said earnestly, " God bless you, Mara Wallingford." 

Sensible old Mrs. Bodine felt that it was time to come 
back to every-day life, so she said promptly, " Yes, and He 
is going to bless her, and bless us all. If there is any 
mourning to be done on this occasion you must do it. We 
three girls have been having a good talk, and are the better 
for it. That's the demmed total, — oh, fie ! there I am at 
it again. Well, Cousin Hugh, to take you into our entire 
confidence, we have been facing things and have arrived 


at several conclusions, one of which is, — now Ella, shut 
your ears, — that you have one of the best daughters in the 
world, and that she and Mara have quite broken the ice 
between them and are going to be very good friends, and 
I was saying how I would like to convoy two such girls in 
one of our ball-rooms in the good old times, — oh, well, 
we have just been having a long lingo as girls will when 
they get together." 

Captain Bodine was gifted with tact and a quick apprecia- 
tion. He understood the old lady and her purpose. 

" Cousin Sophy," he said, " you are just the same as 
when, a boy, I used to visit you, — tears and smiles close 
together. Well, I believe that Heaven comes down very 
near when you three girls get together." 

The old lady lay back in her chair and laughed heartily. 
*' Oh, Ella, if you only knew what a mischievous boy your 
father was once ! But, there, we have had enough of the 
past and the future for one day. Mara, my dear, you must 
stay and banquet with us. No, no, no, I won't hear any 
excuse. When I once get on quarter-deck every one must 
obey orders. Ella, direct Hannah to spread the festive 
board. You and Mara can lend a hand, and you can put 
on all we have in five minutes. To think that I should 
have eaten that delicious jelly you brought, greedy old 
cormorant that I am ! " 

A few moments later Mara supported the old lady down 
to the dining-room, and, though the viands were few and 
meagre, the banqueters, to say the least, were not common- 
place. Mara said nothing of her plan, but Ella was invited 
to spend the following morning with her. In the late linger- 
ing twilight Captain Bodine escorted the young girl home- 
On the way thither they came plump upon Owen Clancy. 
He glanced keenly from one to the other as he lifted his 
hat. Mara's only response was a slight bow. 





"ARA led Captain Bodine up to their little parlor and 
introduced him to Mrs. Hunter, who received him 
most cordially, feeling that in him she recognized a con- 
genial spirit. He treated her with the respect and old-time 
courtesy which she said was " so truly Southern." Their 
feelings and beliefs touched closely at several points, yet 
they were very different in their essential characteristics. 
Poor Mrs. Hunter had been limited by nature and education. 
She could not help being narrow in all her views ; she was 
scarcely less able to dismiss her intense, bitter prejudices. 
She was quite incapable of reasoning herself into her mental 
position ; it was simply the inevitable result of her circum- 
stances, her lot and her own temperament. Captain Bodine 
was a proud man, as proud towards himself as towards 
others. The cause for which he and his kindred had suffered 
and lost so much had been sacred, and therefore it ever 
would be sacred. To change his views, to begin revising 
his opinions, would be to stultify himself and to reflect dis- 
honor on his comrades in arms who had perished. In the 
very depths of his young, ardent spirit he had once devoted 
himself to the South ; he had listened reverendy to prayers 
from the pulpit that God would bless the Southern armies ; 
he had never entered into battle without petitions to Heaven, 
not that he might escape, but that the " Northern invader " 
might be overcome ; his uniform had been stained with 


blood again and again as he held dying comrades in his 
arms and spoke words of cheer. In his more Hmited way, 
he had the spirit of " Stonewall " Jackson. It was impossible 
for a man with his nature and with his memories to argue 
the whole matter over coolly and recognize misleading errors. 
'During his youth and early manhood his feehngs had been 
so intense as to be volcanic, and that feeling, like lava, had 
cooled off into its present unchangeable forms and sombre 
hues. What was bitterness and almost spite in Mrs. Hunter 
was a deep, abiding sorrow in his heart, a great dream un- 
fulfilled, a cause, lofty because so idealized, in support of 
which he often saw in fancy, when alone, spectral thousands 
in gray, marching as he once had seen them in actual life. 
That all had been in vain, was to him one of those myste- 
rious providences to which he could only bow his head in 
mournful resignation, in patient endurance. He had no 
hate for the North, for he was broad enough in mind to 
recognize that it saw the question from its own point of view, 
and, as a soldier, he knew that its men had fought gallantly. 
But the North's side of the question was not his side. He 
had been conquered in arms but not convinced in spirit. 
While he had respect and even admiration for many of his 
old foes, and malice towards none, he still felt that there 
was a bridgeless chasm between them, and, by the instincts 
of his nature, he kept himself aloof. If he could perform 
an act of kindness to a Northerner he would do so unhesi- 
tatingly ; then he would turn away with the impulse of an 
alien. He had no ambitious schemes or hopes for the 
future ; he had buried the " lost cause " as he had buried 
his wife, with a grief that was too deep for tears. He had 
come to value Ufe only for Ella's sake, and he tried to do 
his best from a soldier-like and Christian sense of duty, until 
he too could join his old comrades in arms. 

Mrs. Hunter could not comprehend such a man, and he 


gave to her but the casual, respectful sympathy which he 
thought due to a gentlewoman who had lost much like so 
many other thousands in the South. After a brief call he 
hobbled away on his •■ crutches, forgetting Mrs. Hunter and, 
indeed, almost every thing in the deep interest excited by 
Mara, the daughter of his old friend. "Would to God," he 
muttered, " that Sidney Wallingford could have lived and 
seen that girl look at him as she looked at me to-day." 

Soon after Captain Bodine's departure, Mara pleaded 
fatigue and retired to her room, promising to answer her 
aunt's many questions on the morrow. She was very sad 
and discouraged with herself, and yet she had not the 
despairing sense of the utter futihty of her life which had 
oppressed her when she started out in the early afternoon. 

She had become so absorbed and interested by the inci- 
dents and experiences of her visit as to be almost happy. 
Just as she had attained a condition of mind which had not 
blessed her for months, she must meet Owen Clancy. With 
a sort of inward rage and wonder, she asked herself, " Why 
did my heart flutter so ? Why did every nerve in my body 
tingle ? He is nothing to me and never can be, yet, when 
he passed, a spirit from heaven could hardly have moved 
me more. What is his mysterious power which I cannot 
eradicate? Oh, oh, was not my hfe hard enough before? 
Must I go on, hiding this bitter secret? fighting this hope- 
less and seemingly endless fight? Well, well, thank God 
for this day, after all. In Ella Bodine and her father I have 
found friends who will occupy my thoughts and become 
incentives which I did not possess before. Dear father, 
my own dear, dead, soldier father, it would please you to 
have me do something for your old friend." 

The next morning was bright and sunny, and, after an 
early breakfast, Mara was in the kitchen, with all the ingre- 
dients of the dainties she so skilfully produced, spread out 


upon the tables. Ella had been asked to come early ; her 
father had escorted her to Mara's residence, and then gone 
away on an errand of his own. 

The young girl was greeted with a warmth which made 
her at home at once, and proved the experiences of the 
previous afternoon were not the result of mood or passing 
sentiment. There was a depth in Mara's eyes and a firmness 
about her mouth and chin which did not indicate changing 
and unreasoning " moods and tenses." In the clearer, 
calmer thought of the morning all her kind purposes towards 
Captain Bodine and Ella had been strengthened, and she 
also believed more fully that by interesting herself in them 
she would find the best antidote for her own trouble. 

Ella had been welcomed by Mrs. Hunter, and now, as she 
sat in the little sun-lighted kitchen, there was neither past 
nor future to her. The present scene, with its simple, 
homely details, was all absorbing. 

It meant very much to the girl, for she saw how Mara 
was achieving independence, and by work, too, which 
housekeeping for her father enabled her to understand 
better than any other. Mara's pulses were also quickened, 
for she understood the eager, intelligent glances of her 
friend. For a few moments, Ella, as company, felt compelled 
to maintain the quiet position of spectator ; then overborne, 
she sprung up exclaiming, " Oh, Mara, dear, do give me an 
apron and let me help you. I'd have such a jolly forenoon ! " 

" Why, certainly, Ella, if it would give you pleasure." 

The article was produced, and, with a sigh of deep con- 
tent, the girl tied it around a waist by no means waspish. 
Then off came the little cuffs, and up the sleeves were rolled 
to the shoulder. 

" Ella, what lovely arms you have ! If I were a man I 
should be distracted by such a pair of arms." 

"Well," remarked the girl, looking at them complacently, 


" they'd be strong enough to help a man that I cared suffi- 
ciently for to marry, but I haven't seen that man yet, and I 
hope his lordship will keep his distance indefinitely, — till 
I have more time to bother with him and his distractions." 

" Is your time, then, so completely occupied? " 

" It isn't occupied at all, and that's the plague of it. But 
I reckon it soon will be," she added with an emphatic little 
nod. " Papa shall learn that I can do something more for 
him than cook, and your example has fired my ambition. 
I'll ransack this town till I find something to do that will 
bring money. Dear old Mrs. Bodine ! wasn't she perfectly 
enchanting yesterday? Do you think I can be content to 
hve in idleness on her slender means? No, indeed. I'd 
buy a scrubbing-brush first. Oh, isn't this fun?" and the 
flour was already up to her elbows. 

" Oh, Ella, dear, I'd feel just as you do if I had a father 
to work for," 

" Now, Mara, don't talk so, or I'll put my floury arms 
right about your neck and spoil this dough with a flood of 
briny tears. See, the sun is shining and there is work to be 
done. Let's be jolly, and we'll have our little weep after 
sundown. Oh, Mara, dear, I wish I could make you as 
light-hearted as I am. I used to think it was almost wicked 
for me to be so light-hearted, but I don't think so any more, 
for I know I've kept papa from going down into horrid 
depths of gloom. And then this irrepressible spirit of fun 
helps me over ever so many hard places." She sprung back 
into the middle of the room, and, striking a serio-comic atti- 
tude, continued, "Here I am in no end of trouble — for ine. 
There is a grief preying on my vitals that would make a 
poet's hair stand on end should he attempt to portray it. 
Were there a lover around the corner, sighing like a fur- 
nace, I would say to him 'Avaunt! My heart is broken, 
and do you think I can bother with you ? I am at odds 


with fate. I am in the most deplorable position into which 
any human being can sink. I have nothing to do. But 
here is a weapon by which one girl has conquered destiny," 
and she brandished the roller with which she had been 
pressing out the dough, "and I, too, shall find a sword 
which will cut all the pesky knots of this snarled-up old 
world. Then when I have achieved complete and lofty vic- 
tory and independence, as you have, dear, I may say to the 
lover around the corner, ' Step this way, sir, I must con- 
sider first whether you would be agreeable to papa, and 
then whether you would be agreeable to me and then — 
Oh, what a little fool I am, and so many cookies to make. 
Please don't send me home. I will work now like a 
beaver," and her round white arms grew tense as she rolled 
with a vigor that would almost flatten brickbats. 

Mara stood at one side watching her with eyes that grew 
wonderfully lustrous as was ever the case when she was 
pleased or excited. Then she stole up behind Ella, and, 
putting her arm around her neck, looked into her eyes as 
she asked, "Wouldn't you like to help me? " 

" Of course I like to help you," said Ella, turning with 
surprise upon her friend. 

" Now, Ella, be frank with me. Say no if you feel no. 
Wouldn't you like to help me all the time and earn money 
in this way?" 

A slow deep flush overspread Ella's face as she stood for 
a moment with downcast eyes as if oppressed with a sense 
of shame. Then she said humbly, "Forgive me, Mara. 
I've been very thoughtless. I didn't think you would take 
my ranting as an appeal to your generous heart. Believe 
me, Mara, I was not hinting to you that I might share in 
the little you are earning so bravely. As if you had not 
burdens enough already." 

Mara never once removed her eyes from the girl's ingenu- 


ous face and permitted her to reveal the unselfishness and 
sacred pride of her nature ; then she said gently and firmly, 
" No, Ella, I did not misunderstand you a moment, and I 
want you to understand me. In one sense we have been 
acquainted always, yet we have loved each other from per- 
sonal knowledge but a few short hours. We Southern girls 
need no apologies for our swift intuitions, our quick, warm 
feelings. I had this on my mind as soon as Mrs. Bodine 
told me about your being here, and I had quite set my heart 
upon it as soon as I saw you. Ella dear, I need help ; I 
have more than I can do. There is business enough to 
support us both, and I had almost concluded to ask Aun' 
Sheba to get me a helper. But what a delight it would be 
to work with you ! " 

Ella's face had been brightening as if gathering all the 
sunshine in the spring sky, and she was about to speak 
eagerly when Mara stopped her by a gesture. " Wait," she 
said, " I did not say any thing of this last evening because 
I was not sure you would like the work. If you do not like 
it, you must be frank to tell me so. If you do enter on it 
you must let me manage all in business-like ways, for I fear 
that you, like Aun' Sheba, will be inclined towards very 
loose accounts. You must be willing to take what I feel 
that you should have, and there must be no generous insub- 
ordination. Now you have the exact truth." 

Ella's lip was quivering and her eyes were filling with 
gathering tears. With a little quaver in her voice she 
struggled hard to give a mirthful conclusion to the affair. 
" I accept the position, ma'am," she faltered, making a 
courtesy, then rushed into her friend's arms and sobbed, 
" Oh, Mara, Mara, you have lifted such a burden from my 
heart ! I have had many troubles, but somehow it seemed 
that I couldn't bear this one, though I tried hard to keep 
the pain to myself, — papa and I being dependent. And 


then to have the whole trouble banished by working with 
you in just the kind of work I like ! Oh, Mara, darling, 
how can I ever thank you enough? " 

" Good Lawd, honey, hab you heerd on any ob you'se 
folks dyin'?" and Aun' Sheba's awed face and ample form 
filled the doorway, with Vilet's wondering little visage peep- 
ing around behind her. 

Ella sprung away, and, turning her back on the new 
comers, mopped her face vigorously with her floury apron. 

" No, Aun' Sheba," replied Mara, smiling through her 
tears, for Ella's strong emotion had unsealed the fountain 
of her eyes, " I've only followed your good advice and 
secured just the kind of help I need, the daughter of my 
father's dear old friendj Captain Bodine. I reckon you re- 
member him." 

" Well now, de Lawd be bressed ! " ejaculated Aun' Sheba, 
sitting down with her great basket at her feet. " 'Member 
him ? Reckon I does. I kin jes' see de han'som boy as 
he march away wid you'se fader. An' his little Missy is 
you'se helper?" and she looked curiously at Ella, who was 
still seeking to gain self-control. 

The girl wheeled around with a face wonderfully stained 
and streaked with flour and tears, and, ducking just such a 
courtesy as Vilet would have made, said to Aun' Sheba, 
" Yes'm. I'm the new hand. I'm a baker by trade." 

Aun' Sheba's appreciation of humor was instantaneous, 
and she sat back in her chair which shook and groaned 
under her merriment. " Can't fool dis culled pusson," she 
began at last. " You tink we doesn't keep up wid de times, 
but we does. I'se had a bery int'restin' season wid ole 
Hannah, who lib wid Mis' Bodine, bress her heart ! She's 
quality yere on arth an' she gwine ter be quality in Hebin. 
I knows a heap 'bout you an' you'se pa. I knowd him 
'fore you did. I'se seed him in de gran' ole house in 


Meetin' Street a dinin' agin an' agin wid Marse Wallingford 
an' my deah Misse Mary, den a bride, an' de gran' ole 
Major Buggone. Oh, Missy Mara, ef you could ony seen 
de ole major, you'd a seen a genywine So' Car'liny gen'l'man 
ob wat dey call de ole school. Reckon dey habn't any 
betteh schools now. An' young Marse Sidney, dat's you'se 
fader, Missy, and young Marse Hugh, dat's you'se fader, 
Missy Ella, dey was han'som as picters an' dey drink toasts 
ter Missy Mary an' compliment her an' she'd blush like a 
red rose ; an' wen dey all 'bout ter march away Missy Mary 
kiss Marse Hugh jes as ef he her own broder. Lor, Lor, 
how it all come back ter me ! Ef de Lawd don' bress de 
pa'na'ship twix' you two gyurls den I jes dun beat." 

Regardless of flour the two little bakers stood before Aun' 
Sheika with arms around each other while she indulged in 
reminiscences, then Ella, dashing away the tears that were 
gathering again, said brusquely, "The new hand will have 
to be boss if we go on this way. Aun' Sheba, we haven't 
got a blessed thing ready to put in your basket." 

" Many ban's make light wuck," said the old woman 
sententiously. " I come yere arly dis mawnin' to gib Missy 
Mara a lif ' kase she's been lookin' po'ly an' I hab her on 
my min' anxious-like. But now, wid a larfin', sunshiny 
little ting like you aroun'. Missy Ella, she'll soon be as peart 
as a cricket. Vilet, chile, jes wait on me an' han' me tings, 
an' dese two baskets'U be filled in de quickest jiffy you eber 

And so it turned out. Aunt She"ba was a veteran in the 
field. Flour, sugar and spices seemed to recognize her 
power and to come together as if she conjured. The stove 
was fed like the furnace of Nebuchadnezzar, and the girls* 
faces suggested peonies as the cake grew light and brown. 

Mrs. Hunter, having finished her morning duties, entered 
at last and looked with doubtful, troubled eyes upon the 


scene. Ella and Aun' Sheba's mirthful talk ceased, while 
little Vilet regarded the tall, gray-haired woman with awe. 

" Well, times have changed," said the lady, with a sort 
of groan. •' Our home has become little better than a bake- 

"Well, Missus," repHed Aun' Sheba, with the graven- 
image expression that she often assumed before Mrs. Hunter, 
" I'se know'd of homes dat hab become wuss dan bake- 
shops. Neber in my bawn days hab I heerd on an active, 
prosp'rous baker starbin'. Jes' you try dis cooky right fum 
de stove an' see ef it doan melt in you'se mouf." And so 
Aun' Sheba stopped Mrs. Hunter's lamentations and clinched 
her argument. 




CAPTAIN BODINE'S errand was characteristic of the 
man. He had accepted his cousin's hospitality and 
sympathy most gratefully, and his quick apprehension had 
gathered from some of her words that she was bent on 
moving her little segment of " heaven and earth," to secure 
him employment. While perfectly ready to receive any 
gracious benefactions from heaven, where he justly believed 
that the good old lady's power centred chiefly, he shrunk 
from her terrestrial efforts in his behalf, knowing that they 
must be made with very few exceptions among those who 
were straitened and burdened already. He did not want 
a " place made " for him and to feel that other Southern 
men were practising a severer self-denial in order to do so. 
With a grim, set look on his face as if he were going into 
battle, he halted down town to the counting-room of one 
of the wealthiest merchants and shippers in the City. He 
knew this man only by reputation, and his friends would 
regard an application for employment to Mr. Houghton, as 
extraordinary as it certainly would be futile in their belief. 
Mr. Houghton was quite as bitter against the Soiith in 
general and Charleston in particular as Mrs. Hunter in her 
enmity of all that savored of the North ; and, as human 
nature goes, they both had much reason, or rather cause, 
for their sentiments. The experiences of many of that day 
were not conducive to calm historical estimates or to " the 


Iiarity that suffereth long and is kind." Mr. Houghton 
as a New England man, and hated slavery almost as in- 
;nsely as it deserved to be hated. The trouble with him 
ad been that he did not separate the " pecuHar institution " 
idely enough from the men who had been taught by their 
-thers, mothers and ministers to believe in it. He made 
allowances for his Southern fellow-citizens, as many 
F them would make none for him. With him, it was 
Slave-driver ; " with them " Abolitionist ; " yet he revered 
id they revered the great-hearted planter of Mount 

When the war came at last to teach its terrible, yet essen- 
al lessons, Mr. Houghton's eldest son was among the first 
) exercise the courage of the convictions which had always 
een instilled into his mind. The grim New-Englander saw 
im depart with eyes that, although tearless, were full of 
yony ; also of hatred of all that threatened to cost him 
) much. His worst fears were fulfilled, for his son was 
rowned in a night attack on Fort Sumter, and, in his 
ither's morbid fancy, still lay in the mud and ooze at the 
ottom of Charleston harbor. 

The region gained a strange fascination for the stricken 
lan, and he at last resolved to five near his son's watery 
rave and take from the very hands of those whom he 
?garded as his boy's murderers the business which they 
light regard as theirs naturally. So he removed to Charles- 
)n, and employed his capital almost as an instrument of 
ivenge. He did not do this ostentatiously, or in any way 
lat would thwart his purpose or his desire to accumulate 
loney, but his aims had come to be very generally recog- 
ized, and he received as much hate as he entertained. Yet 
is wealth and business capacity made him a power in com- 
lercial circles, and Southern men, who would no more 
dmit him to their homes than they would an ogre, dealt 


with him in a cool pohteness that was but the counterpart 
of his grim civiUty. 

Captain Bodine knew that Mr. Houghton employed much 
help in his business. He knew that the work of many of 
his employees must be largely mechanical, requiring little or 
no intercourse with the master, and the veteran reasoned, 
" I could give him honest work, and he in return, pay me 
my salary, we personally not being under the slightest social 
obligation to each other. I'd rather \vring money from his 
hard fist than take it from the open hand of a too generous 
friend. I could then get bread for Ella and myself on the 
simple ground of services rendered." 

He therefore entered the outer office and asked for Mr. 
Houghton. A clerk said, " He is very busy, sir. Cannot 
I attend to your matter? " 

" I wish to see Mr. Houghton personally." 

"Will you send in your card, sir? " 

Captain Bodine took one from his pocket and wrote upon 
it, " I wish to see you briefly on a personal matter." A 
moment later he was ushered into Mr. Houghton's presence, 
who was writing rapidly at his desk. Bodine stood still, 
balancing himself on his crutches while the merchant fin- 
ished the sentence. He looked at the hard wrinkled face 
and shock of white hair with the same steady composure 
that he had often faced a battery, as yet silent, but charged 
with fiery missiles. 

At last Mr. Houghton looked up with an impatient word 
upon his lip, but checked it as he saw the striking figure 
before him. For an instant the two men looked steadily 
into each other's eyes. Ever since the war. Captain Bodine 
had dressed in gray, and Mr, Houghton knew instinctively 
that his visitor was a Confederate veteran. Then the cap- 
tain's mutilation caught his attention, and his very manhood 
compelled him to rise and stiffly offer a chair. 


" You wished to see me personally," he remarked coldly. 
I must request you to be brief, for I rarely allow myself 
' be disturbed at this hour." 

" I will be brief. I merely come to ask if you have 
nployment for a tolerably rapid, accurate penman?" 

" Do you refer to yourself? " Mr. Houghton asked, his 
•ow darkening. 

" I do, sir." 

" Do you think this a sufficient excuse for interrupting me 
: this hour?" 

"Yes, sir." 

Again there was a fixed look in each other's eyes, and 
[r. Houghton, with his large knowledge of men and affairs, 
icame more distinctly aware that he was not dealing with 
1 ordinary character. He put his thought in words, for at 
mes he could be very blunt, and he was conscious of an 
icipient antagonism to Bodine. 

" You think you are a Southern gentleman, my equal, or 
Lther, my superior, and entitled to my respectful considera- 
on at any hour of the day." 

" I certainly think I am a Southern gentleman. I do not 
»r a moment think I am entitled to any thing from you." 

" Yet you come and ask a favor with as much dignity as if 
Du represented the whole State of South Carolina." 

" No, sir, I represent only myself, and I have asked no 
vor. There are many in your employ. I. supposed your 
ilations with them were those of business, not of favor." 

" Well, sir," replied Mr. Houghton, coldly, " there are 
[enty with whom I can enter into such relations without 
uploying an enemy of my country." 

" Mr. Houghton, I will bring this interview to a close at 
ace, and then you can settle the matter in a word. Your 
Duntry will never receive any harm from me. I am one of 
conquered people, and I have now no ambition other than 


that of earning bread for my child and myself. You have 
dealings with Southern men and ex-Confederate soldiers. 
You buy from them and sell to them. I, as one of them, 
ask nothing more than that you should buy my labor for 
what it is worth to you in dollars and cents. Regard m 
labor as a bale of cotton, and the case is simple enough." 

The lava-crust over the crater of the old man's heart was 
breaking up, for the interview was recalling all the associa- 
tions which centred around the death of his son. Captain 
Bodine evoked a strange mixture of antipathy and interest. 
There was something in the man which compelled his 
respect, and yet he seemed the embodiment of the spirit 
which the New-Englander could neither understand nor 
tolerate. His thought had travelled far beyond business, 
and he looked at his visitor with a certain wrathful curiosity. 
After a moment he said abruptly, " You fought through the 
war, I suppose?" 

"I fought till I was disabled, sir, but I tried to do a 
soldier's duty to the close of the war." 

" Duty ! " ejaculated Mr. Houghton, with an accent of 
indescribable bitterness. " You would have killed my son 
if you had met him?" 

" Certainly, if I met him in fair fight and he did not kill 
me first." 

" There wasn't any fair fight at all," cried the old man 
passionately. "It was an atrocious, wicked, causeless 

The dark blood mounted to Captain Bodine's very bro\\ 
but he controlled himself by a strong effort, and only said 
calmly, " That is your opinion." 

The veins fairly stood out on Mr. Houghton's flushed, 
usually pallid, face. " Do you know," he almost hissed, 
" that my boy lies at the bottom of your accursed harboy 


" I did not know it, sir. I do know that the sons of 
Southern fathers and the fathers themselves He beside him." 

"But what was the use of it all? Damn the whole 
horrible crime ! What was the use of it all? " 

A weaker, smaller-brained man than Bodine would have 
retorted vehemently in kind and left the place, but the cap- 
tain was now on his mettle and metaphorically in the field 
again, with the foe before him. What is more, he respected 
his enemy. This Northern man did not belong to the ex- 
governor Moses type. He was outspoken and sincere to 
the heart's core in his convictions, and moreover that heart 
was bleeding in father-love, from a wound that could never 
be stanched. Bodine resolved to put all passion under his 
feet, to hold his ground with the coolness and tenacity of a 
general in a battle, and attain his purpose without the slight- 
est personal compromise. His indomitable pride led him to 
feel that he would rather work for this honest, implacable 
foe than for any man in the city, because their relations 
would be so purely those of business, and to bring him 
to terms now would be a triumph over which he could 
inwardly rejoice. 

" Mr. Houghton," he said gravely, " we have wandered 
far from the topic which I at first introduced. Your refer- 
ence to your son proves that you have a heart ; your man- 
agement of business certifies to a large brain. I think our 
conversation has made it clear that we are both men of 
decided convictions and are not afraid to express them. If 
you were a lesser man than you are, I would have shrugged 
my shoulders contemptuously and left your ofiice long ago. 
Yet I am your equal, and you know it, although I have 
scarcely a penny in the world. I am also as honest as you 
are, and I would work for you all the more scrupulously 
because you detest me and all that I represent. I, on the 
other hand, would not expect a single grain of allowance or 


consideration, such as I might receive from a kindly dis- 
posed employer. We would not compromise each other in 
the slightest degree by entering into the relations of 
employer and employed. I would obey your orders as a 
soldier has learned to obey. Apart from business we should 
be strangers. I knew we were hostile in our feelings, but I 
had the impression — which I trust may be confirmed — 
that you were not a commonplace enemy. The only ques- 
tion between us is, * Will you buy my labor as you would 
any other commodity in the Charleston market? ' " 

Captain Bodine's words proved his keen appreciation of 
character. The old man unconsciously possessed the spirit 
of a soldier, and it had been evoked by the honest, uncom- 
promising attitude of the Southerner. His emotion passed 
away. His manner became as courteous as it was cold and 
impassive. " You are right, sir," he said, " we are hostile 
and will probably ever remain so, but you have put things in 
a light which enables me to comply with your wishes, I 
take you at your word, and will buy your labor as I would 
any other article of value. I know enough of life to be 
aware of the courtesy which occasionally exists between men 
whose feelings and beliefs strongly conflict, yet I agree with 
you, that apart from business, we can have little in common. 
When can you come ? " 

" To-morrow." 

" Are you willing to leave the question of compensation 
open till I can learn what your services are actually worth? " 

" I should prefer to have the question settled in that way." 

Both men arose. " Good-morning, Captain Bodine," 
said the merchant, bowing shghtly. " Good-morning, Mr. 
Houghton," and the captain halted quietly back to Mrs. 
Bodine's home of faded gentihty. 

Mr. Houghton sat down at his desk and leaned his head 
thoughtfully upon his hand. " I wouldn't have believed that 


I could have done this," he muttered. " If he had knuckled 
to me one iota I would have shown him the door ; if he 
hadn't been so crippled — if he hadn't been so downright 
honest and brave — confound it ! he almost made me feel 
both like killing him and taking him by the hand. Oh, 
Herbert, my poor, lost boy, I don't wonder that you and 
so many fine fellows had to die before such men were 




ELLA was so overjoyed at her prospects when all had 
been explained to her, that she insisted on Mara's 
spending the evening at the Bodines' so that her father might 
understand the whole arrangement. 

When she returned, early in the afternoon, she found him, 
as Mara had before, reading quietly at one of the parlor 
windows. He looked up with not only glad welcome in his 
eyes, but also with much genuine interest, for he was anxious 
to learn what further impression Mara had made upon his 
daughter. The man who had accepted patient endurance 
as his lot, could scarcely comprehend the profound impres- 
sion made upon him by the child of his old friend. He had 
made no effort to analyze his feelings, not dreaming that 
there was any reason why he should do this. To his mind 
circumstances and the girl herself were sufficient to account 
for the deepest sympathy. Then that look with which she 
had regarded him on the previous evening — he could never 
forget that while he lived. He therefore regarded Ella's 
flushed, happy face, and said, "You seem to hesitate in 
letting your experiences be known, but I reckon, from the 
sparkle of your eyes, that you have had a good time." 

" Oh, papa, I have had a good time, so much more than 
a good time. I hesitate because I don't know just how or 
where to begin — how to tell you all the good news. Dear 
papa, you have had so many more troubles than I have^ and 


some perhaps which you think I do not share in very deeply. 
It was best for us both that I did not — too deeply. But 
you have a trouble now in which I do share more than you 
know, more than I wanted you to know. We were here 
dependent on our dear old cousin who is so unselfish that 
she would almost open her poor old veins for us. This was 
too hard for either of us to endure very long, and I had 
made up my mind that I would do something to relieve you 
— that if Mara could earn money I could." 

" My dear child, I appreciate your feelings, and you have 
understood mine, but let me hasten to assure you that I have 
found a way by which I can support you and myself also." 

"You have? So soon? Oh, that is glorious. Tell me 
all about it." 

" No indeed. Not till I have your wonderful news, and 
learn how you enjoyed your visit." 

" No more visiting for me, or rather perpetual visiting. 
Oh, papa, think what bliss ! I'm to help Mara, work with 
Mara every day, and have a share in the profits." 

The captain's face grew sad and almost stern. Ella 
understood him instantly, and put her hand over his mouth 
as he was about to speak. " Now, papa, don't you perform 
the same little tragedy that I did. I know just how you feel 
and what you are going to say. Mara had it in her mind 
the moment she heard I was in town and " — 

" Ella," interrupted her father firmly, " I do not often 
cross you, but you must let me decide this question. Mara 
is capable of any degree of self-sacrifice, of even something 
like a noble deception in this case. No, this cannot be. 
I would protect that girl even as I would you, and you both 
need protection against your own generous impulses more 
than all else." 

In vain she tried to explain, and recounted minutely all 
that had happened. The captain was so deeply touched 


that his eyes grew dim with moisture. Again he exclaimed, 
" Would to God Sidney Wallingford had lived, even though 
poor and crippled as I am, that he might have worshipped 
this noble-hearted, generous girl. She has indeed a rare 
nature. She carried out her self-sacrificing purpose well, 
but I understand her better than you do, my dear. With 
all a woman's wit, tact and heart she deceived you and would 
deceive us all. She would smile in triumph as she denied 
herself for our sakes what she most needed. But, Ella, you 
know we cannot let her do this." 

The girl was staggered and in sore perplexity. Her 
father's view was not pleasing to her ingenuous nature ; 
there had been a sincerity in Mara's words and manner which 
had been confirmed not only by circumstances, but also by 
Aun' Sheba's hearty approval. " I shall be sorry if what 
you think is true," she said sadly. "I don't wish to be 
deceived, not even from such motives as you attribute to 
Mara, and, of course, she could have no others if you are 
right. But how can you be right ? There was such a verity 
about it all. Why, papa, when at first I imagined that Mara 
might have thought I had been hinting in my very foolish 
talk that I wished what afterwards took place, I was so 
overwhelmed with shame that I could hardly speak. If you 
had seen how she reassured me, and heard her earnest words, 
declaring she needed me — oh, if that was all deception, 
even from the kindest and noblest motive, I should be 
wounded to the heart, I could never be sure of Mara again 
and scarcely of any one else. I can't think as you do. Let 
us ask Cousin and see what she thinks." 

The captain was now in perplexity himself, yet he held to 
his first impression. " I admit," he said hesitatingly, " that 
it was not the wisest course on Mara's part, yet often the 
best people, especially when young, ardent, and a Httle 
morbid, are led by the noblest motives to do what is unwise 


and scarcely right. Mara is not an ordinary girl, and cannot 
be judged by common standards. Be assured, she would 
die rather than deceive you to your harm, but a purpose to 
do you good might confuse both her judgment and con- 
science, especially if it involved self-sacrifice on her part. 
You must not blame me if I wish to be more thoroughly 
convinced. Yes, you can ask Cousin Sophy's opinion if 
you wish." 

*' Then come with me, papa, and state your case as 
strongly as you can. I'd rather go hungry than go forward 
another step if you are right." 

The wise old lady, who could talk by the hour on most 
occasions, listened to both sides of the question, and then 
remarked with sphinx-like ambiguity, "Your father, Ella, 
has obtained a remarkably correct idea of Mara's character. 
You know I told her in your hearing that she had a passion 
for self-sacrifice, and was prone to take a morbid sense of 
duty. At the same time, I do not by any means say he is 
right in this particular instance. Mara is coming this even- 
ing, — let her satisfy you both in her own way. I have my 
opinion, but would rather she would make the matter plain 
to you." 

The shrewd old lady, to whom the wheels of time often 
seemed to move slowly, was bent on a bit of drama at her 
own fireside, at the same time believing that a word, a tone, 
or even a glance from the young girl herself would have 
more power to banish the captain's doubts than any thing 
she could say. "And yet," thought Mrs. Bodine, "Mara is 
capable of just this very kind of dissimulation." 

Evening in the South differs slightly from our late after- 
noon, and the sun was scarcely below the horizon when 
Mara arrived under the escort of Mrs. Hunter, who had 
also been invited. Therefore Ella in her feverish impatience 
had not long to wait. 


Mrs. Bodine's simple meal was over, and after having had 
a fire lighted on the parlor hearth, she had ensconced her- 
self in a low rocking-chair in readiness to receive her guests. 
There was a sort of stately cordiality in the meeting between 
her and Mrs. Hunter, quiet courtesy on the part of captain 
Bodine towards all, while honest Ella could not banish a 
slight constraint from her manner. Mara gradually became 
conscious of this, and wondered at it. She also soon observed 
that no reference was made to the compact of the morning, 
and this perplexed her still more. 

Meanwhile, Mrs. Bodine, having all the dramatis personcB 
about her, was complacency embodied, and not averse to 
taking a part in the little play herself. She managed at first 
that the conversation should be general. She serenely in- 
dulged in reminiscences which waked others from Mrs. 
Hunter, and even the captain was beguiled into half-humor- 
ous old-time anecdotes about some one they all knew. 

"Well," ejaculated Mrs. Bodine, sighing, "that — oh, 
good gracious ! what was I going to say ? Cousin Hugh, 
you can remember that my most excellent husband accus- 
tomed me to rather strong adjectives. Well, that hard- 
hearted old wretch, Mr. Houghton, eventually got all the 
property of the poor man we were talking about." 

"Did he?" said the captain, quietly. "Well, I reckon 
I'll get some of it back again." 

" You ? I'd like to know how. He'd take your head off 
at one bite if he could." 

" I reckon he would ; he looked so inclined this morning. 
I spent half an hour alone with him this morning, and am 
going to work for him to-morrow." 

The general exclamations amounted to a chorus, and Mrs. 
Hunter, bridling, began formally and almost severely, " Par- 
don me. Captain Bodine, I do not wish to be presuming or 
officious, but I fear you have been absent from the city so 

144 ^-^^^ EARTH TREMBLED. 

long that you are not aware of the general estimation in 
which this Northern carpet-bagger is held." 

" I certainly have had a chance to form my own opinion 
of him, Mrs. Hunter, and I reckon that he and I will not 
be any better friends than he and you would be." 

" Friends," ejaculated the old lady, " I could annihilate 
him. Oh, Captain Bodine, believe me, you have made a 
mistake. What will be left of our past if the best and 
bravest of our number strike hands with these vampires of 
the North?" 

*' I have not struck hands with him, nor do I ever expect 

" Hugh, Cousin Hugh," protested Mrs. Bodine, " I don't 
understand this move at all." 

" Papa," cried Ella, with her arms about his neck, " you 
have done this for my sake, so do please give it up for my 
sake. Some other way will be provided for us." 

" Mara, are you, too, down on me ? " 

" No, sir, never ; but I'll share my last crust with you if 
you will have nothing to do with that man." 

" I thought so, you brave, generous girl. That was like 
your father, and reminds me of a bit of experience. We 
were on a forced march, and the provision train had not 
kept up. It was night, and we were too weary to hunt 
around for a morsel. Wallingford (he was major then> 
came to me and said, * Bodine, I've a hard tack and one 
cup of coffee. We'll go halves,' and so we did. He was 
so impolite as to take his half first. Do you know why? " 

" I can guess," she replied with downcast brimming eyes. 

" I reckon you can, — you of all others ; but he didn't 
succeed. I turned on him in mock severity and remarked, 
* Major Wallingford, I never thought you would try to over- 
reach an old friend. See, you have scarcely taken over a 
third of the coffee and hard tack.' He slapped me on the 


back and declared he would have me arrested for insubordi- 
nate and disrespectful language. Considering what sleepy, 
jaded men we were, we had a lot of fun over that meagre 
banquet, but he had to yield even if he were my superior 
I fear you are inclined to go halves just like your father." 

" Well, Hugh," cried Mrs. Bodine impatiently, " even that 
is better than your taking whatever this — this — I want an 
adjective that is not too wicked." 

" No matter. Cousin Sophy, we'll each supply one accord- 
ing to our own degree of wickedness. A Yankee would say 
* darned,' though, confound the fellows, they seem to learn 
to fight and swear in equal degrees." 

" I won't say ' darned,' " said the old lady, almost trem- 
bling in her irritation and excitement, for she was being 
treated to more of a drama than she had bargained for. 
" It is a word I never heard my husband use. Bah ! all 
words are inadequate. I say any thing is better than that 
you should go to this old Houghton for what litde he may 
choose to give you." 

" Now, I appeal to you, Mara, — is this fair, four against 

" But, dear Captain Bodine, you don't know how deeply 
we feel about this." 

"Ah, that is the charge our enemies bring against us. 
\NQfeel, but don't reason, they say. We have much reason 
to retort, ' You reason, but have no feeling and little compre- 
hension for those that have.' Come, I will be serious now,' 
and his expression became grave and firm. " Cousin Sophy, 
Mr. Houghton will never give me a penny, nor would I take 
a gift from him even if starving, yet I have a genuine respect 
for the man. Let me, as a soldier, illustrate my course, and 
then I will explain more fully. Suppose I was on a march 
and was hungry. On one hand were ample provisions in the 
camp of the enemy ; on the other a small farmhouse occu- 


pied by friends who had already been robbed of nearly all 
they had. If I went to these friends they would, as Mara 
has said, share their last crust. Do you not think it would 
be more in accordance with the feelings of a man to make 
a dash at the enemy's overflowing larder, and not only get 
what I needed but also bring away something for my 
impoverished friends? I reckon it would. I much prefer 
spoiHng the Egyptians, cost me what it may. My dear child," 
turning to Mara, "do you think I would take half your 
cnist when I know you need the whole of it ? No, indeed. 
Then you must remember that we got in the habit of living 
off the enemy during the war. To drop all this figurative 
talk, let me put the matter in plain English, as I did to Mr. 
Houghton this morning. We had a pretty hot action, I can 
tell you. There was no compromise in word or manner on 
either side, but he listened to reason, and so will you. Pick 
out your most blue-blooded, stanchest South Carolinians, in 
the city, and they deal with Mr. Houghton. They sell to 
him ; they buy of him, and there it all ends. I have no 
cotton to sell, but I told him to regard my labor as a bale of 
cotton and to buy it, if he so wished, at what it was worth. 
I also told him that apart from our business relations we 
would be strangers, so you see I am neither better nor 
worse, practically, no different from other Charlestonians." 

Mrs. Bodine leaned back in her chair, and laughed till the 
tears came into her eyes. " I do declare," she gasped, 
" God made men different from women, and I reckon He 
knew what He was about. I surrender. Cousin Hugh. 
Your argument has blown me out of the water. Spoil this 
old Egyptian to your heart's content, only remember when 
there are no Egyptians to spoil, if you don't come to your 
friends you will have one savage old woman to deal with." 

Mrs. Hunter shook her head dubiously. " I don't know 
what to think of all this," she said. " It appears to me that 


it tends to break down the partition wall between us and 
those from whom we have received wrongs which should 
never be forgiven," ] 

" My dear Mrs. Hunter," replied the captain, urbanely, 
" the more the partition wall is broken down in one sense, 
the better. Isn't it wiser for me to get money out of Mr. 
Houghton than to sulk and starve ? I had to break through 
the wall to get bread. Of course," he added quietly, " we 
all understand one another. My military figures of speech 
must not be pressed too far. I do not propose to knock 
Mr. Houghton on the head, or even take the smallest possi- 
ble advantage of him. On the contrary, because we are 
hostile, I shall be over-scrupulous, if possible, to do his work 
well. From him, as I told him, I expect not the slightest 
allowance, consideration, or kindness." 

"Oh," thought Mara, "how clearly he has put my own 
thought and wish. Why could not Owen Clancy have earned 
his own bread and mine by taking the course of this brave 
Southern man? I have been shown to-night how noble, 
how dignified and how easy it was. Why should he talk of 
love when he will not see what is so reasonable in the action 
of another?" 

" Cousin Hugh, you said one thing which needs explana- 
tion. You said you had a respect for this man Houghton, 
who we all know has not a particle of good-will towards 

" Chiefly because he is such an honest enemy," Bodine 
replied. " He makes hard bargains with our people when he 
can, but have you ever heard of his cheating or doing any 
thing underhand ? I learned a good deal about his busi- 
ness character while in Georgia, and his course to-day cor- 
responded with what I had been told. Moreover, his 
feelings got the better of him, and he revealed in one 
passionate sentence that his eldest son was killed, and, as 


he says, lies at the bottom of our harbor here. This fact 
enabled me to stand better what I had to take from him," 
and in answer to his cousin's questions he revealed the 
substance of the interview. " I do this," he concluded, 
" that you and other friends may better understand my 
course. To-morrow Mr. Houghton becomes my employer, 
and I shall owe a certain kind of loyalty. The more seldom 
we mention his name thereafter, the better; and I shall 
never speak of him except in terms of cold respect." 

"Since you have told me about his son," said Mrs. 
Bodine, " I won't avail myself of the privilege of freeing 
my mind to-night, even if it will be my last chance, that is 
when you are present. After all, why should I berate him ? 
In one aspect he is to me a sort of ogre representing all 
that is harsh, intolerant and cruel, rejoicing in his power to 
drain the life-blood of a conquered and impoverished peo- 
ple ; yet he rose before me as you spoke as a heart-broken 
father, warped and made unnatural by pain, haunted by the 
ghost of his son whom his arms cannot embrace. Sometimes 
when thinking alone, the people of the world seem like a 
lot of squabbling children, with only degrees of badness and 
goodness between them. Children make no allowances for 
each other. It is like or dislike, quick and manifested. It 
is well there is a Heavenly Father over all who may lead 
one and all of us to ' make up ' some day. I tell you what 
it is, Hugh, we may all have to shake hands in Heaven." 

" Like enough, Cousin Sophy. In matters pertaining to 
Heaven you are a better authority than I am." 

" For very good reason. Heaven is nearest those who 
feel its need most. You may think I am a queer Christian, 
and I sometimes think so myself, — hating some people as 
near as I dare, and calling old Houghton a wretch. Don't 
I know about his heartache? Who better than I? God 
knows I would give his son back to him if I could. God 


knows I can almost swear at him ; He knows also that if he 
were brought into this house wounded I'd nurse him with 
my feeble hand as I would you, Cousin Hugh, but I would 
be apt to say when he got well" (and here came in her 
little chirping laugh), 'Good sir, I have not the slightest 
objection to your going back to Massachusetts, bag and 
baggage.' By the way, he has another son who has not been 
much in Charleston — being educated at the North, they 
say. He must be a grown man now. I was told that when 
here last he resented the fact bitterly that there was some 
society in town which he could not enter." 

" I reckon not," remarked Mrs. Hunter, grimly, and then 
followed some desultory conversation between the two elder 

As was frequently his custom, — in common with men 
whose past is more than their future promises to be, — the 
captain had lapsed into a train of thought which took him far 
away from present surroundings. He was roused by Mrs. 
Hunter's preparations for departure, and looking suddenly 
at Mara, saw that her eyes were filled with tears. He was 
at her side instantly, and, taking her hand, asked gently, 
"What troubles you, my child?" 

With bowed head she rephed, "I understand you, Cap- 
tain Bodine ; your words have made every thing clear to 

He still held her hand and thought a moment. " About 
Ella's coming to you?" he asked. 

" Yes, I'm not one of the Egyptians, but I'd so set my 
heart on it." 

"Because oi your need, not Ella's?" again the captain 
queried, while his grasp on her hand tightened. 

" Oh, Captain Bodine, do you think I could deceive you 
or a girl like Ella under any circumstances ? If she did not 
come after to-day I feel that I should give up in despair 


very, soon. I do need help, and just such help to body and 
mind as she can give me." 

" Forgive me, Mara. The little story I told about your 
father explains why I feared. But we will say no more 
about it. I would rather have Ella with you than with any 
one else in the world." 

"There," cried that buoyant young woman, "I knew I 
was right. Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings you 
old people are destined to learn wisdom." 

" Well," said Mrs. Bodine, '* I've had more drama to-night 
than I reckoned on, and I haven't been leading lady either. 
Will the chief baker escort me to the dining-room? " 

After cake and cream, the captain escorted Mrs. Hunter 
and Mara home. He detained the latter at the door a 
moment, and said gently, " Mara, shun the chief danger of 
your life. Never be unfair to yourself." 




THE great hand of time which turns the kaleidoscope 
of human affairs appeared to move slowly for a few 
weeks, as far as the characters of my story are concerned. 
The tsvo little bakers worked together daily, one abounding 
in mirth and drollery, and the other cheered, or rather 
beguiled from melancholy in spite of herself. Business 
grew apace, not only because two girls who evoked general 
sympathy were the principals of the firm, but also for the 
reason that they put something of their own dainty natures 
into their wares. Aun' Sheba trudged and perspired in 
moderation, for the fleet-footed Vilet seemed to outrun 
Mercury. Moreover, the " head-pahners," as Aun' Sheba 
called them, insisted that their commercial travellers should 
take the street-cars when long distances were involved. 

Captain Bodine and Mr. Houghton maintained their 
business relation in the characteristic manner indicated by 
their first interview. The ex-Confederate was given some 
routine work which kept him at a remote desk a certain 
number of hours a day, and employer and employee rarely 
met, and scarcely ever spoke to each other. The captain, 
however, had no reason to complain of his salary, which was 
paid weekly, and sufficed for his modest needs. So far 
from being dependent on his large-hearted cousin, he and 
Ella were enabled to contribute much to her material com- 
fort, and immeasurably to her daily enjoyment. She and 


Ella were in the sunshine again, and it was hard to say 
which of the two talked the most genial nonsense. The old 
lady had what is termed "a sweet tooth," and loved dain- 
ties. The two girls, therefore, vied with each other in 
evolving rare and harmless delicacies. 

"Two Ariels are ministering to me," she said, "and 
sometimes I feel so jolly that I would hke to share with that 
old — I mean Mr. Houghton." 

The girls never forgot, however, the depths beneath the 
ripple and sparkle of the old lady's manner. 

As spring verged into summer, Uncle Sheba yielded more 
and more to the lassitude of the season. His "bobscure 
'fliction " seemed to grow upon him, if it were possible to 
note degrees in his malady, but Aun' Sheba said, " 'Long as 
he is roun' like a log an' don' bodder me I is use' ter it." 
He even began to neglect the " prar-meetin'," and old Tobe 
told him to his face, "You'se back-slidin' fur as you kin 
slide, inch or so," His son-in-law, Kern Watson, had won 
such a good reputation for steadiness that he was taken into 
the fire department. When off duty he was always with 
" Sissy an' de chilen." 

Outwardly there was but slight change in Owen Clancy. 
He had never been inclined to make many intimate acquaint- 
ances, and those who knew him best only noted that he 
seemed more reserved about himself if possible, and that 
he was unusually devoted to business. Yet he was much 
spoken of in business circles, for it was known that he was 
the chief correspondent of the wealthy Mr. Ainsley of New 
York, who was making large investments in the South, 
Among the progressive men of the city, no matter what 
might be their political faith and association, the young man 
was winning golden opinions, for it was clearly recognized 
that he ever had the interest of his section at heart, that in 
a straightforward, honorable manner he was making every 


effort to enlist Northern capital in Southern enterprises. 
He had withdrawn almost wholly from social life, and ladies 
saw him but seldom in their drawing-rooms. When among 
men, however, he talked earnestly and sagaciously on the 
business topics of the hour. The evening usually found 
him with book in hand in his bachelor apartment. 

Beneath all this ordinary ebb and flow of daily life, 
changes were taking place, old forces working silently, and 
new ones entering in to complicate the problems of the 
future. As unobtrusively as possible, Clancy kept himself 
informed about Mara and all that related to her welfare. 
By some malign fate, as she deemed it, she would unexpect- 
edly hear of him, encounter him on the street, also, yet 
rarely now, meet him at some small evening company. He 
would permit no open estrangement, and always compelled 
her to recognize him. One evening, to her astonishment 
and momentary confusion he quietly took a seat by her side 
and entered into conversation, as he might have done with 
other ladies present. By neither tone nor glance did he 
recognize any cause for estrangement between them, and 
he talked so intelligently and agreeably as to compel her 
admiration. His mask was perfect, and after an instant hers 
was equally so, yet all the time she was as conscious of his 
love as of her own. 

He recognized the new element which the Bodines had 
brought into her life, and with a lover's keen instinct began 
to surmise what the captain might become to her. He was 
not long in discovering the former relations of the veteran 
to Col. Wallingford, and he justly believed that, as yet, 
Mara's regard was largely the result of that old friendship 
and an entire accordance in views. But he was not so sure 
about Bodine, whom he knew but slightly and with whom 
he had no sympathy. He had learned substantially the 
ground on which the captain had taken employment from 


Mr. Houghton, and as we know, he was bitterly hostile to 
that whole line of policy. " It would eventually turn every 
Southern man into a clerk," he muttered, "when it is our 
patriotic duty to lead in business as in every thing else that 
pertains to our section." Yet he knew, or at least believed, 
that if he had taken the same course Mara might now be 
his wife. 

Sometimes, when reading, apparently, he would throw 
down his book and say aloud in his solitude, "Bah, I'm 
more loyal to the South than this sombre-faced veteran. 
He would keep his State forever in his own crippled condi- 
tion. No crutches for the South, I say ; no general clerk- 
ship to the North, but an equal onward march, side by side, 
to one national destiny. He thinks he is a martyr and may 
very complacently let Mara think so too. Who has given 
up the more? He a leg, and I my heart's love ! " 

It has already been shown that Clancy touched the ex- 
tremes of political and social life in the city. Some, of 
whom Mrs. Hunter was an exasperated exponent, could be 
cold towards him, but they could neither ignore nor despise 
him. Those beginning to cast off the fetters of enmity 
and prejudice, secretly admired him and were friendly. 
While cordial in his relations, therefore, with Northern peo- 
ple and Northern enterprises of the right stamp, he had not 
so lost his hold on Mara's exclusive circle as to remain in 
ignorance of what was transpiring within it, and he secretly 
resolved that if Bodine sought to take the girl of his heart 
from him, and, as he truly believed, from all chance of 
true happiness herself, he would give as earnest a warning 
as ever one soul gave to another. 

In June he received a strong diversion to his thoughts. 
Mr. Ainsley wrote him from New York, ir effect, that he with 
his daughter would soon be in Charleston, — that his interests 
in the South had become so large as to require personal 


attention ; also that he had new enterprises in view. The 
young man's interest and ambition were naturally kindled. 
As Mara had taken the Bodines and their affairs as an anti- 
dote for her trouble, he sought relief in the pre-occupation 
which the Ainsleys might bring to his mind. Accordingly 
he met father and daughter at the station and escorted them 
to the hotel with some degree of pleasurable excitement. 

Miss Ainsley made the same impression of remarkable 
beauty and cosmopolitan culture as at first. There was a 
refined, easy poise in her bearing. Indeed he almost fancied 
that, to her mind, coming to Charleston was a sort of con- 
descension, she had visited so many famous cities in the 
world. She greeted him cordially, and to a vain man her 
brilliant eyes would have expressed more than the mere 
pleasure of seeing an old acquaintance again. 

But few days elapsed before Mr. Ainsley was on the wing, 
here and there where his interests called him, meantime 
making the Charleston hotel his headquarters. Miss Ainsley's 
friend, Mrs. Willoughby, carried off the daughter to her 
pretty home on the Battery, where sea-breezes tempered the 
Southern sun. Clancy aided the father satisfactorily in busi- 
ness ways, and the daughter found him so agreeable socially, 
as to manifest a wish to see him often. She interested him 
as a " rara avis" which he felt that he would like to under- 
stand better, and he would have been less than a man if not 
fascinated by her beauty, accomplishments and intelligence. 
Miss Ainsley could not fail to charm the eyes of sense as 
well, and she was not chary of the secret that she had been 
fashioned in one of Nature's finest moulds. The soft, warm 
languor of the summer evenings was, to her, ample excuse 
for revealing the glowing marble of her neck and bosom to 
dark Southern eyes, and admirers began to gather like bees 
to honey ready made. 

Clancy had wished to see her deportment towards other 


young men, and now had the opportunity. The result 
flattered him in spite of himself. To others she was court- 
eous, affable and sublimely indifferent. When he approached 
it seemed almost as if a film passed from her eyes, that she 
awakened into a fuller life and became an enchantress in her 
versatile powers. He responded with as fine a courtesy as 
her own, although quite different, but there was a cool, steady 
self-restraint in eyes and manner which piqued and charmea 

Clancy would be long in learning to understand Miss 
Ainsley. He might never reach the secret of her life, and 
certainly would not unless he bluntly asked her to marry 
him — asked her so bluntly and persistently that all the wiles 
of which woman is capable opened no avenue of escape. 
She was an epicure of the finest type. If she had been 
asked to a banquet on Mount Olympus, she would have 
preferred to dine from the one dehcious dish of ambrosia 
most to her taste and to sip only the choicest brand of 
nectar. Profusion, even at a feast of the gods, would have 
no charms for her. She had begun to see the world so 
early and had seen so much of it that she had learned the 
art of elimination to perfection. Sensuous to the last degree, 
but not sensual, she had a cool self-control and a fineness of 
taste which led her to choose but a few refined pleasures at 
a time and then to enjoy them deliberately and until satiety 
pointed to a new choice. Keen of intellect, she had studied 
society and with almost the skill of a naturalist had recog- 
nized the various types of men and women. This cool 
observation had taught her much worldly wisdom. She saw 
all about her, mere girls jaded with life already, faded young 
women keeping up with the fashionable procession as fagged- 
out soldiers drag themselves along in the rear of a column. 
She had seen fresh young debutantes rush into the giddy 
whirl to become pallid from the excess of one season. At 


one time, she and other friends of hers had been exultant, 
excited and distracted by their many admirers and suitors. 
She soon wearied, however, of this indiscriminate slaughter, 
and the devoted eager attentions, the manifest desires and 
hopes of commonplace men, so far from kindUng a sense of 
triumph and power, almost made her ill. She became like a 
knight of the olden time who had hewn down inferiors until 
he was sick of gore. 

And so she gradually withdrew from the fashionable rout, 
took time for reading and study and the perfection of her 
accomphshments. She accepted merely such invitations as 
were agreeable to her, smiling contemptuously at the idea 
that in order to maintain position in society one must wear 
herself out by rushing around to every thing \ and society 
respected her all the more. It became a triumph to secure 
her presence, but she only went where every thing would 
accord with her taste and inclination. This was true of her 
life abroad as well as at home. Conscious of her father's 
wealth, and that, apart from an unexacting companionship 
to him, she could do as she pleased, she proposed to make 
the most of hfe as she estimated it. She would have all the 
variety she wished, but she would take it leisurely. She 
would not perpetrate the folly of gulping pleasures, still less 
would she permit herself to fall tumultuously in love with 
some ordinary man only to waken from a romantic dream to 
discover how ordinary he was. 

She was also too shrewd, indeed one may almost say too 
wise, to think of an ambitious marriage. The man of mil- 
lions or the man of rank or fame could never buy her unless 
personally agreeable to her. Yet she was rarely without a 
suitor, whom to a certain point she encouraged. Unless 
a man possessed some real or fancied superiority which 
pleased *or interested her, she was practically inaccessible to 
him. She would be courtesy itself, yet by her strong will 


and tact would speedily make a gentleman understand, 
" You have no claim upon me ; your wishes are nothing to 
me." If he interested her, however, if she admired him 
even slightly, she would give him what she might term 
a chance. Then to her mind their relations became much 
like a duel ; she at least would conquer him ; he might sub- 
due her if he could j she would give him the opportunity, 
and if he could find a weak place in her polished armor and 
pierce her heart she would yield. The question was whether 
she had a heart, and she was not altogether sure of this her- 
self. On one thing, however, she was resolved — she would 
not give up her liberty, ease and epicurean life for the duties, 
obligations and probable sorrows of wifehood, unless she 
met a man who had the power to make this course pref- 

During Clancy's visit to New York in the winter, Mr. 
Ainsley had spoken of him to his daughter in terms that 
interested her before she even saw the young man, and the 
moment the experienced woman of the world (for she was 
a woman of the world, though but Uttle past her majority) 
looked upon him she was still more interested, recognizing 
at a glance the truth that whatever Clancy might be, he was 
not commonplace. This explains why he was perplexed by 
the intentness and soft fire of her eyes. If the way opened, 
she was inclined to give him "a chance." It might cost 
him dear, as it had others, but that was his affair. She felt 
that he was highly honored and distinguished in being given 
what she contemptuously denied to the great majority. The 
way had opened. She was in Charleston, and now, this par- 
ticular and lovely June evening found her on a balcony over- 
looking the shining ripples of the bay, rechning in a cane 
chair with her head leaning against a pillar and her eyes fixed 
on him with all the dangerous fascination they possessed. 
Some soft, white clinging material draped her form that was 


rendered more graceful than usual by her well- chosen atti- 
tude. A spray from an ivy vine hung above her, and its 
slightly moving shadow flickered on her throat and bosom. 
She knew she was entrancingly beautiful ; so did he. He 
felt that if he were an artist nothing was left to be desired. 
As a man he was flattered with her preference and charmed 
with her beauty. He did not and could not believe that he 
had more than a passing interest in her mind as yet, and he 
felt that she would never be more to him than a gifted lovely 
friend, who could at one and the same time gratify his taste 
and bestow fine intellectual companionship. They talked 
freely with lapses of silence between them. These she 
would occasionally break with little snatches of song from 
some opera. Her familiarity with life abroad enabled her 
to say much which supplemented his reading and which 
interested him. So he was not averse to these interviews 
and was conscious of no danger. 

To her they had an increasing pleasure. She was 
delighted that Clancy thawed so deliberately, that instead 
of speedily verging towards sentiment he found more pleas- 
ure in her intellectuality than in her outward beauty. So 
many others to whom she had given a chance had quickly 
lost both their heads and hearts, and she was beginning to 
rejoice in the belief that it might require a summer's tactics 
to beguile him of either. His gray eyes, which appeared 
dark in the moonlight, were clearly regarding her with quiet 
admiration, but instead of paying a compliment he would 
broach some topic so interesting in itself that before she 
knew it she was talking well and even brilliantly. 

This present evening he did pay her a compliment, how- 
ever, which delighted her. She had stated her view of a 
subject, and he had replied, " I must differ with you most 
decidedly, Miss Ainsley." Then he added with a little 
apologetic laugh, "I could have made such a remark to 


very few ladies. I would have said, ' I beg your pardon, do 
not think I am contradicting you, but possibly on further 
reflection ' — In brief I would have gone through the whole 
conventional circumlocution. You are a woman of mind, 
and you put your views so strongly and clearly that I forget 
every thing except your thought. Good reason why, your 
thought is so interesting, all the more so because it is 
your view, not mine, and because I do not agree with you. 
Have I made sufficient apology?" 

" You have done much more, Mr. Clancy, you have paid 
me the only kind of a compliment that I enjoy. I am sick 
of conventionalities, and as for ordinary compliments, I am 
as satiated as one would be if the entire contents of Huyler's 
candy-shop had been sent to him." 

" Oh, I knew that much before I had seen you five min- 
utes. The only question in my mind was whether you had 
not been made ill mentally by them as one would be physi- 
cally by the candy." 

" In other words, whether I was a fool or not." 

" Precisely." 


" No need of that rising inflection. If you were a fool I 
would not be here." 

" I reckon not, as you say in the South." 

" Yet you value your beauty. Miss Ainsley." 

" Indeed I do, very highly." 

" And you know equally well that I admire it greatly, but 
1 value your power of companionship more. Why should 
not a man and woman entertain each other without compli- 
ments, conventionalities and sentimentalities?" 

"No reason in the world if they are capable of such 
companionship. The trouble with so many is that they 
tumble into these things, especially the last, as if they were 
blind ditches in their path." 


"That is excellent. Do you regard love as a blind 

"The deepest and worst of them all, judging from the 
experiences of very many." 

" I am inclined to agree with you," he answered very 

A few moments later he rose to take his leave. She gave 
him her hand without rising, and said, " Good-night. I'm 
not going to leave this lovely scene till I am sleepy. Come 
again when you want companionship. Drop conventionality. 
I would like a friend who would talk to me as men of brains 
talk to men of brains, without circumlocution." 

" Very well, then, I shall begin at once. You have a head 
that ought to inspire an artist, but I like its furniture. I am 
going to read up on our point of disagreement. If I actu- 
ally prove you are wrong you must yield like a man." 

" I will." 

The smile on her lips still Hngered as she looked out upon 
the moonlit waters, and she passed into a delicious revery. 
At last she murmured, "Yes, he has a chance. I don't 
know how it will end. I may yield to his argument, but as 
to yielding to him, that is another affair. The best part of 
it all is that he is so slow in yielding to me. Here, in this 
out-of-the-way corner of the world, is a cup that I can at 
least drain slowly." 

Clancy sauntered up Meeting Street, his thoughts pre- 
occupied with the interview. Then half a block in advance 
two persons entered the thoroughfare, and he recognized 
Captain Bodine and Mara. He crossed the street so as not 
to meet them, and they passed in low, earnest conversation. 
If Miss Ainsley had been in the farthest star, he would not 
have cared. Every drop of his Southern blood was fired, 
and, with clinched hands, he strode homeward, and passed 
a sleepless night. 




IT must be admitted that Clancy had some cause for his 
perturbation. Captain Bodine was a middle-aged man, 
who had had deep, if not wide experiences. He had come 
to regard himself as saddened and way-worn, halting slowly 
down the westward slope of life, away from the exaltations 
of vanished joys, and the almost despairing grief of former 

Memory kept both in sharp outline ; nevertheless they 
were receding, as do hills and mountains which the traveller - 
leaves behind him. The veteran had believed that he had 
no future besides earning an honest living, and providing for 
his beloved child. 

The traveller — to employ again the figure — often jour- 
neys forward in what promises to be a monotonous road. 
He is not expecting any thing, nor is he looking fonvard to 
any material change. Unawares he surmounts a little emin- 
ence, and there opens a vista which kindles his dull eyes 
with its beauty, and stirs his heavy heart with the suggestion 
that he has not passed by and beyond all the best things of 

Mara's glance of profound and intelligent sympathy had 
opened such a vista to Bodine's mental vision. It had been 
enough then ; it had been enough since, in the main, that 
she was the daughter of his old and dearest friend, and that 
their thoughts, beliefs and sorrows were in such complete 


accord. Mara had become his daughter's closest friend, as 
well as co-laborer, and so he heard of her daily, and saw 
her very often. All that he saw and heard confirmed and 
deepened his first impressions. A companionship, wonder- 
fully sweet and cheering, was growing between them. He 
had not yet begun to analyze this, or to recognize whither 
it was tending, while not a shadow of suspicion crossed her 
mind. She only felt that she had found a friend who 
diverted her thoughts, solaced all her trouble, and made tlie 
past, to which she believed she belonged, more real, more 
full of precious memories. The days in the main were 
passing quietly and evenly for both, full of work and deeply 
interesting thoughts, and the delightful re-unions around 
the chair of the genial invalid, Mrs. Bodlne, increased in 

The old lady talked and acted as if she had emerged into 
the warmest sunshine of prosperity, and only Ella could 
surpass her in blitheness of spirit and comical speeches. 
They caricatured each other, every one, every thing, yet 
without a particle of malice. Even poor old Mrs. Hunter 
sometimes had to relax her grim rigidity, and Bodine often 
laughed with the hearty ring of his old campaigning days. 
At times Mara was beguiled into the belief that she was 
happy, that her deep wound was healing. The illusion 
would last for days together; then something unexpected 
would occur, and the love of her heart would reveal itself 
in bitter outcry against its wrong. If she could only see 
Clancy in some light which her veritable God-bestowed 
conscience could condemn, she believed that her struggle 
would be much easier ; but he always confronted her with 
his earnest, steady eyes, which said, " I have as true a right 
to think as I do, as you have to think differently. Not 
even for your sake will I be false." Thus after days of 
comparative peace, the tempest would again rage in her soul. 


Buoyant, happy Ella felt now as if she could trip on 
through life indefinitely ; but one summer morning she 
tripped into a litde adventure which brought unwonted 
expressions of perplexity into her fair face. She was return- 
ing along the shady side of the street from her duties, her 
face like a blush-rose from the heat, when she observed 
coming towards her a young man who, from his garb and 
bearing, caught her eyes. Pretty Ella knew she attracted 
a great deal of attention from the opposite sex when she 
appeared in the street, and she was not such a demure little 
saint as to let a fine, manly figure pass without her observa- 
tion, but her observance was quick, furtive, like the motion 
of a bird's eye that looks you over before you are aware of 
the bird's presence. No staring fellow ever met her blue 
eyes in the street. On the present occasion the little 
maiden said to herself, "There's a style of a man I haven't 
seen, and he's evidently a Northerner, too. Well, he's not 
bad ; indeed he is the best-looking Vandal, as Mrs. Hunter 
would say — Oh, merciful Heaven ! that old woman will 
be run over." 

Her commentary had been interrupted by an express 
wagon driven recklessly around the corner. Picking her 
way slowly across the street was a plain, respectable looking 
old woman, with a basket of parcels on her arm, and, at 
the moment of Ella's cry, she was almost under the horse's 
feet, paralyzed with terror. Her cry caught the young 
man's attention. With a single bound, he was in the street, 
his right hand and arm forcing the horse back on its 
haunches, while with his left he gathered up the old woman. 
Then by a powerful effort he threw the horse's head and 
fore-quarters away from him with such force that the shafts 
cracked. Bearing the woman to the sidewalk, he placed 
her upon her feet, then went back, picked up her parcels 
and placed them in her basket. Without waiting to hear 


her thanks, he hfted his hat and was turning away as if all 
had been a trifle, when he was confronted by the enraged 
expressman pouring forth volleys of vituperation. With a 
chivalric impulse the girl drew nearer the stranger, who 
looked the bully steadily in the eyes while he kept his hands 
in his pockets. The man made a gesture as if to strike. 
Instantly the young fellow's left arm was up in the most 
scientific attitude of self-defence. "Don't do that, you 
fool," he said. "Are you too drunk not to see that I'm 
strong? Clear out, or I'll have you arrested. If you touch 
me, I'll knock you under the feet of your horse." 

There was something in the athlete's bearing, and the way 
he put up his left arm, which brought the expressman to his 
senses, and he drew off swearing about the blanked " North- 
erners, who acted as if they owned the city." 

George Houghton — for we may as well give his name at 
once — regarded the fellow contemptuously an instant, and 
again turned to pursue his way regardless of the gathering 
crowd. But his attention was at once arrested by a pair of 
blue eyes which were so eloquent with admiration and ap- 
proval, that he smiled and again lifted his hat. 

"You are a gentleman," Ella breathed softly, the words 
coming with scarcely any volition on her part. 

A frown instantly darkened Houghton's face, and, with a 
slight, stiff acknowledgment, he strode away. " Why the 
deuce shouldn't I be a gentleman ! " he muttered. " The 
very young girls of this town are taught to look upon North- 
erners as boors. One has only to save an old woman from 
being run over, face a blackguard, and the wondering expres- 
sion is wrung from one of the blue-blooded scions, ' You're 
a gendeman ! ' And she was blue-blooded. A fellow with 
half an eye and in half an minute could see that. And I 
suppose she thought that one of my ilk was no more capable 
of such a deed than Toots or Uriah Heep. Bah ! " 


Having thus relieved his mind, young Houghton's step 
soon grew slower and slower. It was evident that a new 
and different train of thought had begun in his mind. At 
last, with characteristic force, he communed with himself: — 

" Thin-skinned fool ! why didn't I look at the girl instead 
of thinking of my blasted self and pride ! Why, that girl's 
face will haunt me for many a day, whether I ever see her 
again or not. I'm as bad as these Bourbons themselves in 
my prejudice. Now I think of it she stood almost alone 
at my side when others were keeping at a safer distance, 
fearing a fight. Her look was one of simple, ingenuous 
approval, — almost the expression of a child, and I acted 
like a brute. That's the Old Harry with me, I act first and 
think afterwards." 

A few minutes later he was at the office, and writing 
rapidly at his father's dictation. After a time Mr. Houghton 
said, " Take these two letters to Bodine's desk, and tell him 
to make copies. Then you can go, George. Your vacation 
is too new for me to take so much of your time." 

"See here, father," replied the young man, putting his 
hand on the old gentleman's shoulder. " You've been here 
all these years working like thunder to make money, and 
I've been spending it like thunder. If you're going to keep 
on working, I'm going to work with you ; if you'll knock 
off and go on a lark with me, I'll guarantee that you'll be 
ten years younger before fall." 

The old man's face softened wonderfully. Indeed one 
could scarcely imagine it was capable of such an expression. 

" Ah George ! you don't, you can't know," he said, " yet 
my heart is not so dead but that I feel and recognize the 
spirit in which you speak. My place is here, right here, 
and I should not be contented anywhere else. But you are 
just from your studies. You didn't dazzle the faculty by 
your performances. Perhaps they would say you were a 


little too much given to boating and that sort of thing. But 
I am. satisfied that you have come home a man, and not a 
blue-spectacled milk-sop. Help me out a little, and then 
go off on your lark yourself and recuperate." 

" Recuperate ! " and the young fellow made the office 
ring with his laugh. " Feel of that muscle, old gentleman. 
All the recuperation I need I can get a few hours before 
and after sundown. I'll go now, however, for there's a 
spanking breeze on the bay, and I'd like to make a run 
around Fort Sumter." 

"George, George, be prudent. You know that your 
brother lies at the bottom of that accursed bay." 

" There, father, there, he died doing his duty like a man, 
and you mustn't grieve for him so. Good-by." 

The old man looked wistfully after him a moment, then 
turned his mind, like a strong motor power, to the compli- 
cated machinery that was coining wealth. 

George went to Bodine, whom he had never seen before, 
and of whom he knew nothing, and began in his half-boyish 
way, " Here, mine ancient, father wants — Beg your par- 
don. Didn't know that you had lost a leg." 

"What is it that Mr. Houghton wishes?" said the captain 
coldly, and turning upon the young man a visage which 
impressed him instantly. 

" I beg your pardon again," said George. " My father 
would like copies made of these letters ; " and he touched 
his hat as he turned away. 

"Thunder!" he muttered as he left the counting-house. 
" I was told that I was a gentleman for a little trumpery 
act in the street. That man tells you he is one by a single 
glance from his sad, stern eyes. He is ant)ther of the blue- 
bloods. Southerner to the backbone. How is it that he 
is in the old gentleman's employ, I wonder? I supposed 
father hated ex-Confederates, as the Devil does holy water. 


Bodine, Bodine. I must find out who he is* for he evi- 
dently has a history." 

He soon forgot all about Bodine in the pleasure of skil- 
fully sailing his boat close to the wind. 

Ella had pursued her way homeward with bowed head 
and a confused sense of shame and resentment. " Suppose 
I did speak to him, a stranger," she murmured, " was he so 
dull, or so cold and utterly conventional as to make no 
allowance for the circumstances? No matter, I've had a 
lesson that I shall never forget. Hereafter he and his kind 
may save all the old women in Charleston, and fight all the 
bullies, and I won't even look at them. If he had had the 
brains and blood of a frog even, he would have understood 
me. And he did seem to understand at first, for he smiled 
pleasantly and' Hfted his hat. Does he consider it an insult 
to be told he is a gentleman? Perhaps he thought this fact 
should be too apparent to be mentioned, or else he thought 
it bold and unmaidenly to open my lips at all. A plague 
on him for not being able to see the simple truth. No 
Southerner would have been so stupid, or ready to think 

Thus she communed with herself till she reached her own 
room. After a little thought, she decided not to speak of 
the adventure. She had an unusual share of common sense, 
and knew that the affair would only give pain to her father 
and cousin, and that its relation would serve no earthly good 
to any one. 




THERE are those who touch our life closely, and become 
essentially a part of it ; there are many more who are 
but casual and passing acquaintances, and yet these very 
people often unconsciously become the most important fac- 
tors in our destiny. Ella Bodine was soon to prove this 
truth. It will of course be understood that her Hfe was 
not so secluded and restricted that she practically had no 
acquaintances beyond the characters of our story. Sensible 
Mrs. Bodine had no intention that her pretty cousin should 
be hidden behind the prejudices so powerful in those with 
whom she was immediately associated. 

"Cousin Hugh," she said, one day soon after Ella's 
encounter with Houghton, " how was it with you when you 
were a young fellow ? how was it with me when I was a girl ? 
Do you suppose your daughter is made of different flesh 
and blood ? She is so unselfish in nature and sunny in tem- 
perament that you will never learn from her that she has 
longings for society of her own age. We have no right to 
keep her among our shadows. We belong to the past ; she 
has a future, and should have the chance which is the right 
of every young girl. You must not judge her by Mara, who 
stands by herself, and is not a representative of any ordinary 
type. She is as old as you are, and a great deal older than 
I am. She has grown up among shadows and loves them. 
Ella loves the sunshine, and should have all of it that we 


can give her. Now you must let her go out more. I will 
choose her chaperons, and I reckon I know whom to choose. 
If I do say it, I would like you to mention any one in 
Charleston more competent. I know about the fathers and 
mothers, the grandfathers and grandmothers, and the remote 
ancestors of every one in Charleston who is any one." 

" Cousin Sophy, I believe you are right. I have per- 
mitted Ella to be too devoted to me, but we have lived such 
a precarious life of late — indeed it has been the vital ques- 
tion how we were to live at all. We are now very differently 
situated. Yes, you are right. Ella should see something 
of society, and enjoy some of its pleasures, and, as you say, 
should have her chance." At these final words he sighed 

" I know what that sigh means," resumed the old lady. 
" You would wish to keep Ella to yourself always — the 
natural impulse of a father's heart. Yet if you allow this 
impulse to control you, it will become selfishness of the 
worst kind. I say again that every girl should have her 
chance to see and be seen, and to make the most and best 
of her life according to woman's natural destiny. You may 
trust me, as I have said, to choose those who shall have the 
care of Ella when she goes out. She has an invitation to 
a little company at Mrs. Willoughby's, and a most discreet 
friend has offered to chaperon her. We'll fix her out so that 
she will appear as well as any one, and you know our claims 
don't rest on expensiveness of dress. Mrs. Willoughby 
comes of one of the oldest and best families in the State. 
I know she is liberal, and affiliates with Northern people 
more than I could wish, but they are all said to be of the 
best class — and I suppose there is a best class among 'em. 
Good Lor', Hugh ! we may feel and think as we please, 
and can never change, but we can't keep back the rising 
tide. Tf there are a few Northern neonle nresent Ella won't 


be contaminated any more than you are by working among 
Northern people. We have our strong prejudices — that's 
what they are called — but we must not let them make us 
ridiculous. Mrs. Willoughby says she's emancipated, and 
that she'd have whom she pleased in her parlors. She has 
been abroad so much, you know. Well, well, we'll consider 
it settled." And so it was. 

When Ella was informed of her cousin's plan in her 
behalf she was half wild with delight. " I may consider 
myself a debutante,'^ she said. " O cousin Sophy ! how 
shall I behave?" 

" Behave just as a bird flies," said the wise old lady. " If 
you put on any airs, if you are not your own natural self, 
I'll shake you when you come home." 

The captain saw his child's pleasure, and felt anew the 
truth of his cousin's words. Ella should be immured no 
longer. Mara had been invited also, but declined, prefer- 
ring to spend the evening with Mrs. Bodine. 

Mrs. Willoughby's company was not large, and had been 
selected from various motives. We need mention but one 
that had influenced her. Miss Ainsley had requested that 
George Houghton should be invited. Her father and Mr. 
Houghton had large business interests in common, and at 
Mr. Ainsley's request the young man had called upon his 
daughter. She was pleased with him, although she felt her- 
self to be immeasurably older than he. Mrs. Willoughby 
had also been favorably impressed by his fine appearance 
and slightly brusque manner. 

"Yes," said the astute Miss Ainsley, as they were talking 
him over after his departure, " he's a big, handsome, finely 
educated boy, who would walk through your Southern con- 
ventionalities as if they were cobwebs, had he a chance." 

" Delightful ! " cried Mrs. Willoughby. " If I can keep 
my drawing-room free from insipidity, I am content. As to 


his walking through our conventionahties, as you term them, 
let him try it. If he doesn't butt his head against some 
rather solid walls, I'm mistaken. You don't half know what 
a bold thing I am doing when I invite old Houghton's son ; 
but then it is just this kind of social temerity that enchants 
me, and he shall come. I only hope that some good people 
won't rise up and shake off the dust of their feet." 

" Don't worry ; you're a privileged character. Mr. 
Clancy has told me all about it. He admires you immensely 
because you are so untrammelled." 

" He admires you a hundred-fold more. What are you 
going to do with him ? " 

" I don't know. I couldn't do any thing with him yet. 
That's his charm. If I didn't know better, I should say he 
was the coldest — he is not cold at all. The woman who 
reaches his heart will find a lot of molten lava. I'm often 
inclined to think it has been reached by some one else, and 
that his remarkable poise results from a nature fore-armed, 
or else chilled by a former experience. At any rate, there is 
a fire smouldering in his nature, and when it breaks out it 
won't be of the smoky, lurid sort that has so often made me 
ill. There will be light and heat in plenty." 

" Well, you're an odd girl, Caroline. You experiment with 
men's hearts like an old alchemist, who puts all sorts of sub- 
stances into his crucible in the hope of finding something 
that will enrich him." 

" And probably, like the old alchemist, I shall never find 
any thing except what, to me, is dross." 

Under Mrs. Robertson's wing Ella appeared, and met 
with a very kindly reception. She had not Miss Ainsley's 
admirable ease, but she possessed something far better. 
There was a sweet girlish bloom in addition to her innately 
refined manner and ingenuous loveliness of face, which made 
even the experienced belle sigh that she had passed by that 


phase forever. Yet shrewd Ella's eyes were as busy as they 
were intelligent. She wondered at Miss Ainsley with min- 
gled admiration and distrust, but she had received a suffi- 
cient number of hints from Mrs. Bodine to understand her 
hostess quite well. She saw Clancy enter, and Miss Ainsley's 
welcome, and quickly observed that there was a sort of free- 
masonry between them. Then some one appeared who 
almost took away her breath. It was the stranger to whom 
she had spoken so unexpectedly, even to herself. She saw 
that Mr. Clancy, Miss Ainsley, and Mrs. Willoughby greeted 
him cordially, but that many others appeared surprised and 
displeased. Little time was given to note more, for the 
stranger's eyes fell upon her. He instandy turned to his 
hostess, and evidently asked for an introduction. With a 
slight sparkle of mischief in her eyes, Mrs. Willoughby com- 
plied, and Ella saw the stranger coming towards her as 
straight and prompt as if he meant to carry her off bodily. 
He seemed to ignore every one and every thing else in the 
room, but she was too high-spirited to fall into a panic, or 
even to be confused. Indeed she found herself growing 
angry, and was resolving to give him a lesson, when his 
name was mentioned. Then she was startled, and for an 
instant confused. This was no other than the son of " that 
old — Mr. Houghton," as Mrs. Bodine always mentioned 
hiin, with a little cough of self-recovery as if she had been on 
the perilous edge of saying something very unconventional. 
His father was her father's employer, and the instinctive 
desire to save her father from trouble led to hesitation in 
her plan of rebuke and retaliation. Her petty resentment 
should not lead to any unpleasant complications, and she 
therefore merely bowed civilly. 

Houghton repeated her name as if a victim of momentary 
surprise himself, and then said with his direct gaze, " I wish 
to ask ten thousand pardons." 


"That is a great many. I shall have to think about 
granting one." 

" If I were you I wouldn't do it," was his next rather 
brusque remark. 

"That is your advice, then? " 

" No, indeed. I'm not my own worst enemy. Miss 
Bodine, circumlocution is not my forte. I had not walked 
a block away from you the other day before I charged myself 
with being a fool and a brute. It took just that long for me 
to get it into my thick head what your manner and words 
meant, and I've been in a rage with myself ever since." 

"Well," she asked, looking down demurely, "what did 
they mean? " 

"They meant you were a brave girl, — that from a chiv- 
alric impulse you had drawn near when even men stood 
a little aloof, as if fearing that if the affair came to blows, 
they might get a chance one themselves. Your face had 
the frank expression of a child — how often in fancy I've 
seen it since ! — the words came from your lips almost as 
a child would speak them. Now that I see you again I 
know how true my second thoughts were of you and of 
myself. I deserve a whipping instead of your pardon." 

There was a point yet to be cleared up in Ella's mind, 
and she remarked coldly, " I do not see how you could 
have had any other thoughts than what you term your 
second thoughts." 

" Nor do I, now ; and I suppose you can have no mercy 
on a poor fellow who is often hasty and wrong-headed. I 
will make a clean breast of it. I was charmed with your 
expression when first aware of your presence, but when you 
spoke you touched a sore spot. Miss Bodine, you would 
not be ostracized at the North. You would be treated with 
the courtesy and cordiality to which every one would see 
you to be entitled. Practically I am ostracized here by the 


class to which you belong. When you spoke I stalked 
away like a sulky boy, muttering, ' Why shouldn't I be a 
gentleman ? ' Even the girls in this town are taught to look 
upon Northerners as boors. I had only to pick up an old 
woman, and face a bully, when, as if in utter surprise that 
one of my ilk should be so grandly heroic, I heard the 
words, 'You are a gentleman.' You see it was my wretched 
egotism that got me into the scrape. When I thought of 
you, not myself, I saw the truth at once, and felt like going 
back to the expressman and meekly asking him to give me 
a drubbing." 

All was clear to Ella now. Indeed there was a frankness 
and sincerity about Houghton which left no suspicion of 
dark corners and mental reservations. As his explanation 
proceeded she began to laugh. " Well," she remarked, " I 
had my first thoughts too. I said to myself, as I pursued 
my way homeward, with burning cheeks, that you or any 
one else might save all the old women in town, and fight all 
the bullies, and that I would pass on my way without looking 
to the right or left." 

" Pardon me. Miss Bodine, you are mistaken. Your gen- 
erous spirit would get the better of you again in two seconds. 
Heaven grant, however, that next time you may have a gen- 
tleman as your ally. For a few moments I ceased to be 
one, and became an egotistical fool," 

" You are too hard upon yourself. Since you interpret 
me so kindly it would ill become me to " — 

" Ella, my dear," said her chaperon, " let me present to 
you Mr. Vandeveer." 

Houghton gave her a bright, grateful glance, rose instantly, 
and bowed himself away. 

Mrs. Robertson had been on pins and needles over this 
prolonged conference. There was something so resolute 
about Houghton's manner, and he had placed his chah: so 


adroitly to bar approach to Ella, that the good lady was in 
sore straits. Mrs. Willoughby saw her perplexity, and felt 
not a little mischievous pleasure over it. She disappeared 
that she might not be called upon to interfere. At last in 
desperation Mrs. Robertson laid hold on Mr. Vandeveer, 
and ended the ominous interview. 

Ella gave rather lame attention to her new companion's 
commonplaces ; then others were introduced, and the even- 
ing was drifting away in the ordinary fashion. She soon 
began to talk well in her own bright way, and had all the 
attention a young debutante could desire, but she was always 
conscious of Houghton's presence, and also aware that he 
was quietly observant of her. She saw that he met with 
very little cordiality, and that from but a few. Woman- like 
she began to take his part in her thoughts, and to feel the 
injustice shown him. She had an innate sense of fair play, 
and she resented the manoeuvring of her chaperon to keep 
him away from her. Yet she soon found herself enjoying 
abundandy the conversation of such young men as met with 
Mrs. Robertson's approval. This truth was apparent to that 
lady's satisfaction, but the independent young woman was 
not long in resolving that if she went into society she would 
not go as a child in leading-strings, and she determined that 
she would speak to Houghton again before the evening was 
over, if the opportunity offered. He had at last disap- 
peared, but she soon discovered that he was on the balcony 
with Clancy and Miss Ainsley. Strolling past them with 
her escort, she heard enough of their bright, merry talk to 
wish that she had a part in it. It was her nature, however, 
to avoid him until she could speak under the eye of her 
chaperon, and she again entered the lighted drawing-room. 

Houghton, meanwhile, had been doing some thinking 
himself. The girl, whose blue eyes had looked at him so 
annrovindv in the street, was takinc: a stronger hold on his 


fancy every moment. The relaxation of her cold aspect into 
mirthfulness, and an approach to kindness had enchanted 
him ; while her ardent, honest, fearless nature appealed to 
him powerfully. " She strikes me as a woman who would 
stand by a fellow through thick and thin as long as he was 
right," he thought, " and if my judgment is correct the 
whole ex- Confederate army shan't keep me from getting 
acquainted with her. Ah ! how I liked that severe look in 
her eyes till she knew what my first thoughts were ! She 
has blue blood of the right sort, and I'm sorely mistaken if 
it doesn't feed a brain that can think for itself." 

He also returned to the drawing-room, and was vigilant 
for an opportunity. It soon occurred. Ella and her at- 
tendant were chatting with Mrs. Willoughby a little apart 
from the others. Houghton joined them instantly, and was 
encouraged when both the ladies greeted him with a smile. 
The attendant gentleman soon withdrew, the hostess re- 
mained a few moments longer, and then Houghton and Ella 
were alone. 

"You may have observed," he said, "the penalty I pay 
for being a Northerner." 

" Yes," she replied, " and I don't think it's fair." 
" Miss Bodine, do you dare think for yourself? " 
" I scarcely know how I can help doing so." 
" That is just what I was thinking^out on the balcony." 
" I thought you were charmed by that beautiful Miss 

" She has no eyes except for Clancy, and a fine fellow he 
is too, — too good for her, I imagine. I can't make her 

" Neither can I." 

" Oh, bother her ! I don't Uke feminine riddles. Miss 
Bodine, there's a gentleman in my father's employ bearing 
your name. Is he a relative ? " 


" He is my father," she replied proudly. 

" I should guess as much if your eyes were not so blue." 

" I have my mother's eyes, I am told." 

" Well, on that same day — you know — he told me that 
he was a gentleman : can you guess how? " 

" I would rather you should tell me." 

" I was sent to him by my father with a message, and I 
spoke rudely to him at first; not intentionally, but as a 
harum-scarum young fellow might speak to an elderly man 
under ordinary circumstances, I meaning nothing more than 
friendly familiarity. I fear you won't understand, but with 
you I can't help downright honesty." 

" Yes, I understand. He was one of your father's clerks, 
and you cared little what you said to him." 

"Scarcely right, Miss Bodine. With all my faults, — and 
they are legion, — I'm good-natured, and do not intentionally 
hurt people's feelings. What a fine proof of that I gave you 
in my insufferable stupidity ! " 

" That's been explained and is past. Please don't refer to 
it any more." 

" Heaven knows I wish to forget it. Well, your father 
turned to me from his writing. One look was enough. I 
begged his pardon twice on the spot. That is the way he 
told me he was a gentleman. It had been so born and 
bred into him that, unless a fellow was an idiot, one glance 
told the story." 

Her face softened wonderfully as he spoke, and her eyes 
grew lustrous with feeling, as she said, — 

" You are not an idiot, Mr. Houghton. I am glad you so 
quickly appreciated my father. He is more than a gentle- 
man, he is a hero, and I idolize him." 

" I should fancy it was a mutual idolatry," and his eyes 
expressed an admiration of which the dullest girl would have 
been conscious, and Ella was not dull at all. " I wish we 


could become acquainted," he added abruptly, and with 
such hearty emphasis that her color deepened. 

Before she could reply, her chaperon managed to sepa- 
rate them again, and she saw him no more until, rather early 
in the evening, she was bidding her hostess good-night. 
Then she encountered such an eager, questioning, friendly 
look, that she smiled involuntarily, and slightly bowed as 
she turned away. Mrs. Robertson was so pre-occupied at 
the moment that she did not witness this brief, subtile ex- 
change of — what? Ella did not know, herself, but her 
heart was wonderfully light, and there was a delicious sense 
of exhilaration in all her veins. 

As they were driving home, Mrs. Robertson began senten- 
tiously, " Ella, in the main you behaved admirably. I don't 
suppose any thing better could be expected of one so 
unversed in society, especially Charleston society. You were 
natural and refined in your deportment, and bore yourself as 
became your ancestry. You will soon learn to make dis- 
criminations. I had no idea that young Houghton would be 
present, or I would have told you about him and his father. 
Mrs. Willoughby is carrying things too far, even if many of 
our people have consented to wink at much that we dis- 
approve of. Houghton represents the most detested Northern 
element among us. Of course you, in your inexperience, 
felt that you must be polite to every man introduced to you, 
and he talked with the volubility of which only a Yankee is 
capable. It is scarcely possible that you will meet him any- 
where except at Mrs. Willoughby's, and if you go there any 
more you must learn the art of shaking off an objection- 
able person speedily. Your meeting Houghton to-night was 
purely accidental, and I reckon that after you have been out 
a few times you will learn to choose your associates from 
those only of wliom your father and cousin would approve. 
Perhaps therefore you had better not say any thing about 


your meeting Houghton, unless you feel that you ought. No 
harm has been done, and it would only displease your 
father, and render him adverse to your going out hereafter." 

The good lady was a little worried by the fear that her 
reputation as a chaperon would be damaged, and, sincerely 
believing that "no harm had been done," and that her 
homily would remove all danger from the future, she coun- 
selled as she thought wisely. Her heart was full of good 
will towards the girl, and she was desirous that nothing 
should prevent her from enjoying society in her interpreta- 
tion of the word. 

Ella thanked her warmly for her kindness and advice, but 
she was in deep perplexity, for she had never concealed any 
thing from her father before. Her lightness of heart was 
already gone, and there were tears in her eyes before she 




OLD TOBE, keeper of the " rasteran," may have been 
right in saying that Uncle Sheba had backsHdden as 
far as he could slide, remembering the limitations of a life 
like his, but circumstances had recently occurred which 
brought his church relations to a crisis. Tobe was the 
opposite pole in character to Uncle Sheba. There was an 
energy about the old caterer which defied age and summer 
heat. Even his white wool always seemed bristling aggres- 
sively and controversially. His fiery spirit influenced his 
commonest acts. Wlien he boiled potatoes his customers 
were wont to say " he made 'em bile like de debil." 

He carried his energy into his religion, one of his favorite 
exhortations in the prayer-meeting being, " Ef you smners 
wants to 'scape you'se got to git up an' git." During the 
preaching service he took a high seat in the synagogue, and 
if any one in the range of his vision appeared drowsy he 
would turn round and glare till the offender roused into 
consciousness. The children and young people stood in 
awe of him, and there was a perfect oasis of good behavior 
surrounding his pew. Once some irreverent young men 
thought it would be a joke to pretend to " conviction ob 
sin," and to seek religious counsel of old Tobe, but they 
came away scared half out of their wits, one of them 
declaring that he smelt brimstone a week afterwards. 
The Rev. Mr. Birdsall felt that he had a strong ally in 


Tobe, but he often sighed over the old man's want of dis- 

Uncle Sheba was Tobe's bete noir, and he often inwardly 
raged over "dat lazy niggah." " De time am comin' w'en 
dat backslider got to be sot on," he would mutter, and this 
seemed his one consolation. He could scarcely possess his 
soul in patience in the hope of this day of retribution ; 
" but I kin hole in till it come, fer it's gwine to come shuah," 
he occasionally said to some congenial spirits. 

Tobe had a very respectable following in the church both 
as to numbers and character, for many looked upon his zeal 
as heaven-inspired. At last there came a hot Sunday after- 
noon which brought his hour and opportunity. Mr. Birdsall 
was not only expounding, but also pounding the pulpit 
cushion in order to waken some attention in his audience. 
Old Tobe had been whirling from one side to the otlier, and 
glaring hither and thither, till in desperation he got up and 
began to nudge and pinch the delinquents. From one of 
the back pews, however, there soon arose a sound which so 
increased as to drown even Mr. Birdsall's stentorian voice. 
Tobe tiptoed to the spot, and, in wrath that he deemed 
righteous, blended with not a litde exultation, looked upon 
Uncle Sheba. His head had fallen on his bosom, and from 
his nose were proceeding sounds which would put to shame 
a high-pressure engine. Aun' Sheba was shaking him on 
one side and Kern Watson on the other. Audible snicker- 
ing was general, but this soon gave way to alarm as Aun' 
Sheba exclaimed aloud, " He's dun gwine an' got de popo- 
plexy shuah." 

" Carry him out," said old Tobe, in a whisper which 
might have been heard in the street. 

Two or three men sprang forward to aid, but Kern sternly 
motioned them back, and, lifting Uncle Sheba's pordy form 


vestibule. Scores were about to follow, but Tobe, with his 
wool bristling as never seen before, held up his hand impres- 
sively, and in the same loud whisper, heard by all, remarked, 
" It doan took de hull cong'ration to wait on one po' sinner. 
Sabe yo'selves, brud'ren an' sisters. Sabe yo'selves, fer de 
time am a comin' w'en you'se all will be toted out dis yere 
temple ob de Lawd foot fo'most." 

With this grewsome recollection forced upon their atten- 
tion, the people sat down again, wide awake at last. Tobe 
beckoned to three or four elderly men whom he knew he 
could rely upon, and they gathered around Uncle Sheba. 
His wife was slapping him on the back, and chafing his 
hands, while Kern was splashing water in his face. The 
unfortunate man began to sneeze, and manifest rather con- 
vulsive signs of recovery. At last he blurted out, " Dar 
now, dar now, Aun' Sheba, doan go on so. I'se gwine to 
bring in de kinlins right smart." 

" Bress de Lawd ! " exclaimed Aun' Sheba, " dat soun' 
nat'rel. No popoplexy in dat ar kin' ob talk." 

Tobe and his allies exchanged significant glances. Uncle 
Sheba was brought to his senses sufficiently to be supported 
home by his wife and son-in-law. He soon became aware 
that he had committed an awful indiscretion, for Watson 
looked stem, and there was a portentous solemnity in Aun' 
Sheba's expression. He began to enter on excuses. "I 
was jis' come ober by de heat," he said. " 'Tween de 
heat an' de po'ful sarmon, I was jis' dat 'pressed dat de 
sperit went out ob me." 

" Mr. Buggone," replied his wife severely, " it was wat 
went inter you, an' not wat wen' out ob you, dat made de 
trouble. You jes' gormidized at dinnah. I'se gwine to cut 
off you'se 'lowance one-half" 

At this dire threat Uncle Sheba groaned aloud, feeling 
that his sin had overtaken him swiftly indeed. His supper 


was meagre, and to his plaintive remarks Aim' Sheba made 
no reply, but maintained an ominous silence until sleep 
again brought the relief of oblivion. 

After Uncle Sheba's departure, Tobe and the other pillars 
of the church held a whispered conference in the vestibule, 
and soon agreed upon their course. When the services were 
over, they, with other sympathizers, waited upon the min- 
ister. Mr. Birdsall was hot, tired, and incensed himself, and 
so was in a mood to listen to their representations. 

" Hit's time dis yere scan'el was r'moved," said Tobe sol- 
emnly. " We mus' purge ourselves. Mr. Buggone should 
be sot on, an' 'spended at de berry leas' ; an' ter make de 
right 'pression on oders dat's gettin' weak in dere speritool 
jints, I move we sot on Mr. Buggone's case to-morrer 

Mr. Birdsall was made to feel that it was his duty to 
accede, but he already felt sorry for Aun' Sheba and the 
Watsons, and had misgivings as to the result. 

" Well," said he at last, " I'll agree to a prelim'nary con- 
f'rence to-morrow evenin' at Mr. Buggone's house. Brud- 
'ren, we must proceed in de sperit ob lub an' charity, an' do 
our best to pluck a bran' from de burnin'." 

In the morning he went around to prepare Aun' Sheba 
for the ordeal, but she and Vilet had gone out upon their 
mercantile pursuits, and Uncle Sheba also had disappeared. 
To Sissy the direful intelligence was communicated. In 
spite of all Mr. Birdsall's efforts to console, she was left sob- 
bing and rocking back and forth in her chair. When Kern 
came home, he heard the news with a rigid face. 

'' Well," he said, " ef it's right, it's right. Ef I'd done 
wrong I'd stan' up an' face wot come ob it." 

Uncle Sheba knew when his wife would return, and was 
ready to receive her in the meekest of moods. He had cut 
an unusual quantity of wood and kindlings, but they failed 


to propitiate. Sissy soon called her mother to come over 
to her cabin to hear of Mr. Birdsall's visit, and all that it 
portended. Aun' Sheba listened in silence, and sat for a 
long-time in deep thought, while Sissy and Vilet sobbed 
(luietly. At last the old woman said firmly, '' Sissy, I wants 
you and Kern ter be on han'. Vilet kin take keer ob de 
chillun. Dis am gwine ter be a solemn 'casion, an' de Lawd 
on'y knows wot's gwine ter come out ob it. Anyhow dis 
fam'ly mus' stan' by one noder. My mind ain't clar jes' yit, 
but'll git clar wen de 'mergency comes ; I jes' feel it in my 
bones it'll git clar den." 

There was such an awful solemnity in her aspect when she 
returned, that Uncle Sheba was actually scared. It seemed 
to him that her manner could not be more depressing if she 
were making preparations for his funeral. His trepidation 
was increased when he was told briefly and sternly to put 
on his " Sunday-go-to- meetin's." 
" Wot fer, Aun' Sheba ? " 

« You'se know soon 'nuff. De Elder's gwine to call on 
you dis ebenin'. Ef you'd had de popoplexy in arnest, 
we'd made great 'lowance fer you, but wen you eat an' drink 
till you mos' ready to bust, and den 'sturb de hull meetin' 
by snortin' like a 'potamus, dar's got to be trouble, an' I'se 
got to meet it." 

Uncle Sheba did as he was directed, with the feeling that 
the judgment day had come. 

Meanwhile old Tobe had prepared his indictment, and 
marshalled his forces for the occasion. At seven in the 
evening he led them to the nearest comer, and waited for 
Mr. Birdsall, who soon appeared. Led by him, they entered 
Aun' Sheba's living-room in solemn procession. Although 
the evening was warm, there was a fire on the hearth, for 
she had said, " Dere's gwine ter be notin' wantin' to de 
'casion." All the chairs had been brought in from Watson's 

1 86 riiE EARTH trembled. 

cabin, and he and Sissy sat in the background. Uncle 
Sheba had been placed on the farther side of the hearth, 
and was fairly trembling with apprehension. He tried to 
assume a pious, penitent air, but failed miserably. Aun' 
Sheba made an imposing spectacle. 

She had arrayed herself in her Sunday gown and had 
wound a flaming turban about her head. Apparently she 
was the most collected person present, except Kern Watson 
who sat back in shadow, his face quiet and stern. As the 
minister and committee entered she rose with dignity and 
said, " Elder an' brud'ren, take cheers." 

Then she sat down again, folded her hands and gazed 
intently at the ceiling. 

If old Tobe was not cool, as indeed he never was, he was 
undaunted, and only waited for the minister to prepare the 
way before he opened on Uncle Sheba. A few moments of 
oppressive silence occurred, during which the culprit shook 
as if he had an ague, but Aun' Sheba did not even wink. 
Mr. Birdsall, regarding her portentous aspect with increased 
misgiving, began at last in a mournful voice, " Mis Buggone, 
dis is a very sorrowful 'casion. We are here not as you'se 
enemies but as you'se fren's. Our duty is painful, 'stremely 
so, but de brud'ren feel dat de time is come wen Mr. Bug- 
gone mus' be made to see de error ob his ways, dat dere 
mus' be no mo' precrastination. De honah ob de church 
is japerdized. Neber-de-less he is a free-agent. De lamp 
still holes out to burn " — 

" An' de wilest sinner can return," interrupted Aun' Sheba, 
nodding her head repeatedly. *'I unerstan'. You means 
well, Elder." 

Old Tobe could hold in no longer, and began excitedly, 
" De question am weder de wile sinner's gwine ter return, or 
wants ter return, or's got any return in 'im. Elder, I feels 
^er Mis Buggone an' her family, but dis yere ting's gwine 


on long anuff. We'se been forebearin' an' long-sufferin' till 
dere's a scan'el in de church. I'se tried wid all my might 
ter keep de people awake an' listenin', an' I'se gettin' dun 
beat out. Ef we wink at dis awful 'zample you mought as 
well go to de grabe-yard an' preach. It ud be mo' com- 
fable fer you, kase dey'd hear jus' as well, an' dey wouldn't 
'sturbe de 'scorse by snorin' de roof off. Now I ask de 
sense ob dis meetin'. Wen a member backslide so he do 
notin' but eat an' sleep, oughtener he be sot on?" 

There was audible approval from all of Tobe's followers, 
and he was encouraged to go on. 

" Ef Mr. Buggone mus' sleep mos' ob de time let him 
sleep peac'ble in his own house, but de Scripter say, ' Wake 
dem dat sleepest,' an' we say it's time Mr. Buggone woke 
up. Any cullud pusson dat kin snore so po'ful as Mr. 
Buggone needn't say he weakly an' po'ly. Hafe de poah 
he put in his snore ud lif 'im right along in all good works, 
week days an' Sundays. But I'se loss faith in 'im. He's 
been 'spostulated an' 'monstrated with, an' 'zorted so often 
dat he's hardened an' his conscience zeered wid a hot iron. 
We'se jes' got to take sich sinners in han', or de paster-lot 
won't hole de flock no mo'. I move we take steps to 'spend 
Mr. Buggone." 

" Secon' dat motion," said one of his followers promptly. 

" Mr. an' Mis Buggone, have you nothin' to say?" asked 
Mr. Birdsall sadly. 

" Elder," began Uncle Sheba in his most plaintive tone, 
" you know de heat yistidy was po'ful " — 

" Mr, Buggone," interrupted his wife severely, " dis ain't 
no 'casion fer beatin' round de bush an' creepin' troo knot- 
holes. You knows de truf an' I knows de truf. No, Elder, 
we'se got not'in ter say at jes' dis time." 

"Den, Elder, you put de motion dat we take steps," said 
Tobe promptly. 


With evident reluctance Mr. Birdsall did so, and the 
affirmative was unanimously voted by the committee. 

" I wants ter be 'spended too," said Aun' Sheba, still 
gazing at the ceiling. 

" Now, Mis Buggone, dere would be no right nor reason 
in dat," the minister protested. 

" Elder, I doesn't say you-uns ain't all right, an' I does 
say you means well, but I'se de bes' jedge of my inard 
speritool frame. Hit was neber jes' clar in my mind dat 
I was 'ligious, an' now I know I ain't 'ligious, an' I wants 
ter be 'spended." 

" But it is clar in my mind dat you are religious, dat you'se 
a good woman. Would to de good Lawd dat de church 
was full ob Christians like you ! " 

" I'se spoke my min'," persisted Aun' Sheba doggedly. 
" Ole Tobe shall hab his way an' de church be purged." 

" Elder," said Tobe, now quite carried away by zeal and 
exultation, " p'raps Mis Buggone am de bes' jidge. Ef she 
feel she ain't one ob de aninted ones " — 

" Peace ! " commanded Mr. Birdsall, " never \vith my 
consent shall any steps be taken to suspend Mis Buggone. 
You forgits, Tobe, how easy it is to pull up de wheat wid 
de tares." 

" Den I 'spend myself," said Aun' Sheba, " an' I is 
'spended. Now I gvvine ter 'fess de truf. I guve Mr. Bug- 
gone an extra Sunday dinner yistidy. I was puff up wid 
pride kase business was good, an' I bress de Lawd fer pros- 
perin' me. Den like a fool I 'dulge myself and I 'dulge 
Mr. Buggone. Ef he's ter be 'spended fer a snorin' sleep, 
I oughter be 'spended fer a dozin' sleep, fer I 7ijas a dozin' ; 
an' I feels it in my bones dat we bofe oughter be 'spended, 
an' I is, no matter wot you does wid Mr. Buggone. Now, 
Tobe, you hab had you'se say, an' Ise a-gwine to hab mine. 
YoH'se got a heap ob zeal. You wouldn't lead de flock ; 


you'd dribe 'em, you'd chase 'em, you'd worry de bery 
wool ofif ob dem. Whar you git you sperit fum ? You ain't 
willin' ter wait till de jedgment day ; you'd hab a jedgment 
ebery day in de week. You'se like dem 'siples dat was 
allers wantin' ter call down fiah from Heben. Look out 
you don't get scorched yo'self. I can't be 'ligious long o' 
you, an' if you got 'ligion I habn't. Elder, you says de 
Lawd Hbed yere on- dis yarth. I ony wish I'd libed in dem 
days. I'd a cooked, an' washed, an' ironed, an' baked fer 
Him an' all de 'siples. Den like anuff He'd say, ' Ole Aun' 
Sheba, you means well, I won't be hard on you nor none 
of you'se folks when de jedgment day comes.' But so much 
happen since dat ar time wen He was yere dat I kinder got 
mixed up. I reckon I jes' be 'spended, an' let Him put de 
ole woman whar she belong wen de time comes." 

There was pathos in her tones ; her stoicism had passed 
away, and tears were streaming from her eyes, while Sissy 
was sobbing audibly. The committee at first had been 
aghast at the result of the meeting, and now their emotional 
natures were being excited also. Old Tobe was discon- 
certed, and still more so when Aun' Sheba suddenly rallied, 
and, turning upon him, said with ominous nods, " Wen dat 
day come, Old Tobe, you won't be de jedge." 

Thus far Kern Watson had sat silent as a statue, but now 
his strong feelings and religious instincts gained the mastery. 
Lifting up his powerful mellow voice he sang : — 

The people was a gatherin' from far and neah ; 

Some come fer fishes an' some ter heah ; 

But He fed dem all, an' He look so kin' 

Dat dey followed, dey followed, an' none stay behin'. 

But one got loss, an' he wandered far, 
De night come dark, no moon, no star ; 
De lions roared an' de storm rose high, 
An' de po' loss one lie down ter die. 


Den come a voice, an' de win's went down, 
An' de lions grovel on de groun'. 
An' de po' loss one am foun' an' sabed, 
Fer de Shepherd ebery danger brabed. 

These words, as sung by Kern, routed old Tobe com- 
pletely ; he hung his head and had not a word to say. The 
committee had beaten time with their feet, and began to 
clap their hands softly. Then Mr. Birdsall, with kindly 
energy, exhorted Uncle Sheba, who groaned aloud and said 
" Amen " as if in the depths of penitence. A long prayer 
followed which even moved old Tobe, for Aun' Sheba had 
shaken his self-confidence terribly. The little company 
broke up with hand-shaking all around, Tobe saying, " Sister 
Buggone, I bears no ill-will. I'se gwine ter look inter my 
speritool frame, an' ef I cotch de debil playin' hob wid me 
he's gwine to be put out, hoof an' horns." 

Aun' Sheba wrung her son-in-law's hand, as she said, 
" You'se singin', Kern, kinder went to de right spot. Neber- 
de-less I'se 'spended till I feels mo' shuah." 

Sissy kissed her mother and father affectionately, and then 
the old couple were left alone. Aun' Sheba gazed thought- 
fully into the dying fire, but before long Uncle Sheba began 
to hitch uneasily in his chair. Finally he mustered up cour- 
age to say, " Aun' Sheba, dis am been bery po'ful 'casion, 
bery tryin' to my narbes an' feelin's. Yet I feels kinder 
good an' hopeful in my inards. Ef I wasn't jes' so dun 
beat out I'd feel mo' good. P'raps now, 'siderin' all I'se 
pass troo, you wouldn't min' gibin' me a bit ob dat cole 
ham an' hoe-cake " — 

" Mr. Buggone," began Aun' Sheba sternly, then she sud- 
denly paused, threw her apron over her head and rocked 
back and forth. 

" Dar now, Aun' Sheba, dar now, doan go on so. I was 
ony a sigestin' kase I feels po'ly, but I kin stan' it." 


" Pse no better dan old Tobe hisself," groaned Ami' 
Sheba. " All on us is hard on some one, while a hopin' fer 
marcy ourselves. Ef you'se hebin is in de cubud, go in 
dar an' hep a sef," And she rose and opened the door of 
the treasure-house. 

" I'se jes' take a leetle bite, Aun' Sheba, jes a leetle com- 
f tin bite, kase I'se been so sot on dat I feels bery weakly 
an' gone-like." 

Uncle Sheba was soon comforted and sleeping, but Aun' 
Sheba still sat by the hearth until the last glowing embers 
turned to ashes. " Yes," she muttered at last, " I'se 'spended 
till I feels mo' shuah." 




SLEEP and buoyancy of temperament enabled Ella to see 
every thing in a very different light the following morn- 
ing. " The idea of my taking what happened last night so 
seriously ! " she said aloud while making her toilet. " As 
Mrs. Robertson said, ' no harm has been done.' Of course 
I shall tell papa and Cousin Sophy that I met and talked to 
Mr. Houghton. What if I did ? He was introduced to me 
just as the others were, and what do I care for him? He 
was a very agreeable Vandal, and I'm glad to have had a 
chance to see what Vandals are like. As with other buga- 
boos they lose their terrors under close inspection." 

At breakfast, therefore, she was merrier than usual, and 
gave a graphic and humorous account of the company, ex- 
patiating on the beauty and mystery of Miss Ainsley, her 
preference for Clancy, and his apparent devotion to her. 

" By the way," she said at last, " who do you think was 
there? You can't guess, so I will tell you, — young Mr. 

_ " What ! the son of that old — beg pardon. Cousin Hugh," 
and Mrs. Bodine laughingly added, " It nearly slipped out 
that time." 

" I hope he was not presented to you, Ella," said her 
father gravely. 

" Well, he was, and by Mrs. Willoughby. I didn't talk 
with him very much, but of course I had to be polite. 



When I first heard his name I felt that I should be polite 
for your sake ; and I was rather sorry for him, too, because 
so many evidently frowned on his presence." 

'' You need not be polite to him again for my sake," said 
her father decidedly. " I am under no obhgations to him 
or his father, and this is a case into which policy cannot 
enter. I do not blame you, however," he added, more 
kindly, " for you acted from good impulses. Of course, as 
you say, you must be polite to every one, but you have a 
perfect right to be cold towards those who are unfriendly to 
us, and with whom we can never have any part or lot. I 
have been in Mr. Houghton's employ long enough to be 
convinced more fully, if possible, that, while he is an honest 
man, he has not a particle of sympathy with or for our peo- 
ple. I told him from the start that there could be no social 
relations between us. You must learn to avoid and shake 
off people who are objectionable." 

" Well," said Ella, laughing, " I won't have to shake off 
people while under Mrs. Robertson's wing. She bore down 
upon us, as Cousin Sophy would say, like a seventy-four 
of the line. Dear papa, you know that Mr. Houghton is 
nothing to me, but it scarcely seems fair that he should be 
punished for the sins of his father." 

" You need not punish him, my dear. Simply have noth- 
ing to do with him. He is the last person in the world to 
be regarded as an object of sympathy," and her father spoke 
a little irritably. 

Ella thought it wise to make no further reference to him. 
"After all," she thought, "what does it matter? I'm glad 
he had a chance to explain that disagreeable episode in the 
street, and now I am practically done with him. I can at 
least be civil, should we ever meet again, and there it will 

"Mrs. Willoughby is going too far," said Mrs. Bodine, 


musingly. " If she continues to invite such people she may 
find that other invitations will be declined without regrets. 
We haven't much left to us, but we can at least choose our 

" Don't be alarmed," said Ella lightly. " I did not invite 
him to spend this evening with us," and kissing her father 
and cousin good-by, she started for Mara's home. 

Her thoughts were busy on the way, and they were chiefly 
of a self-gratulatory character. The whole episode now 
amused her gready, for she could not help agreeing with her 
father that the great, strapping fellow was not an object of 
sympathy. "He probably has a score of flames at the 
North," she thought, " and wouldn't mind adding a little 
Southern girl to the number, especially as she is a sort of 
forbidden fruit to him. Well, he's not a bad fellow, if he 
is that old blank's son, as Cousin Sophy always suggests. 
Nevertheless, I don't think he's treated fairly, and I can't 
keep up these old bitter feelings. What had he or I to do 
with the war, I'd like to know? Well, well, I suppose it's 
natural for those who went through it to feel as they do, but 
I wish Mara wasn't so bound up in the past. It isn't fair to 
him," she broke out again. " He said I wouldn't be ostra- 
cized at the North. Bother ! it don't matter what he said. 
As to our getting acquainted " — And she almost laughed 
outright at the preposterous idea. 

She and Mara were soon busy as usual, and as oppor- 
tunity offered, she told her fellow-worker of the events of 
the evening. Mara, with a languid interest, inquired about 
those whom she knew, and how they appeared, and she 
sometimes laughed aloud at Ella's droll descriptions. She 
was even more emphatic in her disapproval of young Hough- 
ton's presence than the captain or Mrs. Bodine had been. 
" I shall never accept any invitation from Mrs. Willoughby 
after this," she said firmly. 


"Well now, Mara," replied Ella with a little toss of her 
head, " I can't share in that spirit. Mr. Houghton is a 
gentleman, and I could meet him in society, chat with him, 
and let it end there. We can't keep this thing up forever, 
that is, we of the younger generation. Why should I hate 
that big, good-natured fellow ? The very idea seems ridic- 
ulous. I could laugh at him, and tease and satirize him 
a little, but I could no more feel as you do towards 
him, than I could cherish an enmity towards a sunflower. 
Still, since father feels as he does, I shall have to cut 
him as far as possible, should I ever meet him again, which 
is not probable. I reckon that Mrs. Willoughby will be so 
crushed that even she won't invite him any more." 

" I should hope not, truly." 

" Well, she has a Northern girl visiting her, and a very 
remarkable looking girl she is." 

" That is a different affair, although I do not approve of 
it. Miss Ainsley is the daughter of a rich man who is 
doing much for the South, and who feels kindly toward us, 
while old Mr. Houghton detests us as heartily as we do him. 
He is absorbing our business and taking it away from South- 
ern men, and he exults over the fact. Miss Ainsley is cer- 
tainly a very beautiful girl, for I've seen her. I suppose she 
received much attention." Mara purposely turned her back 
on Ella, and busied herself in the farther part of the 
kitchen. She had heard rumors of Clancy's attention to 
the fair Northerner, and she both dreaded and hoped to 
have them verified. " Any thing," she sighed, " oh, any 
thing which will break his hold upon my heart ! " 

Unconsciously, Ella gave her more information than she 
could well endure. " I reckon she did receive attention, 
very concentrated attention, and that was all she cared for 
evidently. She was rather languid until Mr. Clancy ap- 
peared, and then she welcomed him with all her brilliant 


eyes. He looked as if he understood her perfectly, and 
they spent most of the evening on the shadowy balcony 
together. It is another case of the North conquering the 
South ; but if I were a man, I'd think twice before surren- 
dering to that girl. I had an instinctive distrust of her." 

Mara felt that she was growing pale, and she immediately 
busied herself about the stove until her face flamed with 
the heat. 

"You don't seem to take much interest in the afiair," 
Ella remarked, as Mara continued silent. 

" I never expect to make Miss Ainsley's acquaintance," 
was the quiet reply, "and Mr. Clancy in my view has almost 
ceased to be a Southerner." 

"Well, I never met him before, and have only heard a 
little about him from cousin Sophy, and that not in his favor. 
He has a strong, intelligent face though, and a very resolute 
look in his eyes." 

" Yes," admitted Mara coldly, " I reckon he's one who 
would have his own way without much regard for others." 

" He may slip up for once. Miss Ainsley struck me as 
a girl who would have her way, no matter how many hearts 
she fractured." 

Aun' Sheba and Vilet now entered, diverting Ella's 
thoughts. The old woman sat down rather wearily, a look 
of deep dejection on her face. 

" Look here, Aun' Sheba," said the lively girl, " you're 
not well, or else something is troubling you. You looked 
down-hearted yesterday, and you look funereal now." 

"We'se been sot on," said Aun' Sheba solemnly. 

" ' Sot on ! ' good gracious ! Aun' Sheba, what do you 
mean? " 

" Well, dey sot on my ole man, an' husband an' wife am 
one. Hit didn't turn out bad as I s'posed it would, bress 
dat ar son-in-law ob mine, but I keeps a tinkin' it all ober, 


an' I'se 'jected, I is ; an' dar's no use ob shoutin' glory 
wen you doan feel glory." Then she told the whole story, 
which kept Ella on pins and needles, for, while she felt 
an honest sympathy for the poor soul, she had an almost 
uncontrollable desire to laugh. 

" Yes, Missy Mara," concluded Aun' Sheba pathetically, 
" I'se 'spended, I 'spended myself, an' I'se gwine to stay 
'spended till I feels mo' shuah." 

"Suspended, Aun' Sheba ! " said Mara starting, suddenly 
becoming conscious of present surroundings. 

Aun' Sheba looked at her wonderingly, but voluble Ella 
made it all right by saying, " No wonder Mara exclaimed. 
The idea ! I wish I was half as good as you are." 

" Oh, yes," cried Mara, striving to conceal her deep pre- 
occupation, " that's the way with Aun' Sheba ; the better 
she is, the worse she thinks she is. Do you mean to say that 
your church people have suspended you? " 

"No. I'se 'spended myself. Didn't I tole you ? " 

" There, there. Aunty, I didn't understand. I believe in 
you and always will." 

" Well, honey, I reckon you'se ole nuss'll alers be de 
same ter you wheder she'se 'ligious or no." 

Both the girls now stood beside her, with a hand on either 
shoulder, and Ella said heartily, " Now, Aun' Sheba, it is just 
as you said, you're 'jected ; you've got the blues, and every 
thing looks blue and out of shape to you. You can't see 
the truth any more than if you were cross-eyed. I can 
prove to you whether you're 'ligious or not. Vilet, ain't 
your grandma a good Christian woman ? " 

" 'Deed an' she is troo an' troo," said the child, who had 
been a silent, yet deeply sympathetic listener. " Many's de 
time she's sent me wid good tings to po' sick folks." 

"There now," cried Ella. "Aun' Sheba, you've got to 
believe the Bible. ' Out of the mouths of babes and suck- 


lings,' it says. You can't deceive a child. Vilet knows 
better than you do." 

"Shuah now, does you tink it's dataway?" and Ami' 
Sheba looked up with hope in her eyes. 

"Of course we think it's that way," said Ella. "Aun' 
Sheba, you know a heap, as you say, about many things, 
but you don't half know how good you are." 

" I know how bad I is anyhow. I tells you I was in a 
dozin' sleep." 

"Well, I've been in a dozin' sleep many a time," said 
Ella, " and I'm not going to be suspended by any one, not 
even myself." 

"Aun' Sheba," said Mara gently but firmly, "you know 
I'm in earnest, and how much I love you for all your good- 
ness ever since I was a helpless baby. You wouldn't say 
hard, untrue things against any one else. You have no more 
-right to be unjust to yourself. As Ella says, I wish I was as 
good a Christian as you are." 

" Now, Missy Mara, no mo' ob dat ar talk. I knows my 
inard feelin's bes' ob any one. What Vilet say chirk me up 
po'fuUy, kase she see me ebery day. I tell you what I'se 
gwine ter do ; I'se gwine ter put myself on 'bation, and den 
see wot come ob it. Now, honeys, I'se 'feered long nuff 
wid business. You'se dun me good, honey lam's, an' de 
Lawd bress you bofe. I'se tote de basket a heap pearter 
fer dis yere talk. I feels a monst'us sight betteh. Wish 
I could see you, honey, lookin' as plump as Missy Ella. 
Dat do me mos' as much good as feelin' 'ligious." 

Mara worried Mrs. Hunter over her pretence of making 
a dinner, and then gladly sought the solitude of her own 
room. At last she said with a bitter smile, " He has broken 
the last shred that bound me." But as the hours passed in 
tumultuous thoughts, her heart told her how vain were such 




CAPTAIN BODINE was halting serenely down into that 
new vista in his life of which we have already spoken. 
Every day both promise and fulfilment seemed richer than 
he had ever imagined any future experience could be. He 
was domiciled in a home exactly to his taste ; his cousm's 
brave, cheerful spirit was infectious; the worry of financial 
straits was over, and Ella was blooming and happy. These 
favorable changes in themselves would have done much 
towards banishing gloom and despondency; but another 
element had entered into his existence which was as un- 
expected as it was sweet. A deep, subtile exhilaration was 
growing out of his companionship with Mara. Every long, 
quiet talk that he enjoyed with her left a longing for another. 
She was learning to regard him almost as a father, but he 
did not think of her as he did of Ella. He loved Ella as 
his child, but her buoyant spirit, her intense enjoyment of 
the present, and her eager, hopeful eyes, fixed upon the 
future, separated her from him. He did not wish it other- 
wise in her case, for he hoped that there was a happy future 
for her, and he rejoiced daily over the gladness in her face. 
Mara, although so young, seemed of his own generation. 
He often repeated to himself his cousin's words, " She is 
as old as you are." She appeared to live in the past as 
truly as himself. There was scarcely a subject on which 
they were not in sympathy. He believed that Mrs. Bodme 


was right, and that Mara was essentially different from others 
of her age. Indeed the impression grew upon him that the 
mysterious principle of heredity had prepared her for the 
companionship which apparently was valued as much by her 
as by himself. During the many hours in which he was 
alone, he thought the subject over in all its aspects, as he 
supposed, and a hope, exquisitely alluring, began to take 
form in his heart. 

No man is without a certain amount of egotism and self- 
love, and, although these were not characteristics of Bodine, 
he could not help dwelling upon the truth that the remainder 
of his life would be very different from what he had expected 
could Mara be near to him. 

Her eloquent look of sympathy so soon after they met 
began to take the form of prophecy. At first it led him 
to believe that she would receive a paternal, loving regard, 
much the same as he gave to Ella ; but, as time passed, he 
began to dwell upon the possibility of a closer tie. She 
appeared to have no especial friends among young men, nor 
indeed to care for any. Might not a strong, quiet affection 
grow in each heart until they could become one in the 
closest sense, e\en as they were now one in so many of 
their thoughts and views? 

It was natural tlat his deepening regard should tinge his 
manner, yet Mara d.-eamed of nothing beyond the affection 
which she was glad ;o receive from him. Vigilant eyes, 
however, were following captain Bodine, and Clancy, with 
a lover's jealous intuition, was guessing his rival's thoughts 
and intentions more clearly every day. He did not adopt 
any system of espionage, nor did he ask questions of any 
one, but merely took occasion to walk on tlie Battery at an 
hour when it was most frequented. Here he often saw 
Mara and the veteran enjoying the cool sunset hour, and 
sometimes he observed that Mara saw him. So far from 


shunning such observation, he not infrequently compelled 
her recognition, which was always coldly bestowed upon her 

" It would seem that Mr. Clancy is more inclined to be 
friendly than you are," Bodine remarked one evening. 

" Before Mr. Clancy valued Northern friends more than 
Southern ones we were friendly," was Mara's quiet reply. 
She had schooled herself now into outward self-control, but 
she chafed at his presence, and thought he happened to be 
near her too frequently. Still it was ever will versus heart, 
for the latter always acknowledged him as master. 

He was satisfied that his impressions in regard to Bodine 
were correct, and was impelled by his love to make an effort 
to save her from drifting into relations which he believed 
must inevitably destroy her chance for happiness. His 
strong, keen mind had analyzed her every word, tone, and 
varying expression, and he had become quite sure that her 
bearing towards him was not the result of indifference, but 
was rather due to pride, and a resolute purpose not to yield 
to him unless he adopted her views. He also understood 
her sufficiently well to dread lest a morbid sense of loyalty 
to her father's memory might lead her to accept his friend 
and old companion in arms. 

"Her immediate associates would encourage the idea," 
he thought, "and there are none to advise or warn her 
except myself. She is morbid and unbalanced enough to 
commit just such a fatal error. Her bringing up, and all 
the influence of that warped Mrs. Hunter, would lead her to 
sacrifice herself to the manes of her ancestors. Yet how 
can I warn her — how can I reach her except I write ? I 
wish to look into her eyes when I speak. I wish to plead 
with her with all the power that I possibly possess. Great 
Heaven ! if this that I fear should happen, what an awaken- 
ing she might have when it was too late ! " 


At last he resolved on the simplest and most straight- 
forward course, and wrote, — 

Mara, — Will you grant me one more interview — the last, unless 
you freely concede others. I have something important to say to you, 
something that relates far more to your happiness than to my own. 
In excuse for my request, I have nothing better to plead than my love 
which you have rejected, and yet which entitles me to some consider- 
ation. .1 think my motive is unselfish, — as unselfish as can be possi- 
ble under the circumstances. You may treat me as you please, but 
your welfare will always be dear to me. I shall not seek to change 
your convictions, nor shall I plead for myself, for I know that all this 
would be useless ; but I wish to see you face to face once more alone 
in your own home. I must also request that Mrs. Hunter will not 
interfere with our interview. You are not a child, and you know that 
I am a gentleman, and that I am incapable of saying a word at vari- 
ance with my profound respect for you. 

Owen Clancy. 

Mara was deeply agitated by this missive. Her first emo- 
tion w^as that of anger, as much at herself as at him, — a 
confused resentment that his words, his very handwriting, 
should so move her, and that he should venture to write at 
all. Had she not made it sufficiently plain that he had no 
right to take, or, at least, to manifest any such interest in 
her affairs? Were all her efforts futile to hide her love? 
In spite of her habit of reserve and repression she had a 
passionate heart, and this fact had been forced upon her by 
vain and continuous struggles. Had he the penetration to 
learn the truth? She could not tell, and this uncertainty 
touched her pride to the very quick. After hours of 
wavering purpose, impulses to ignore him and his request, 
moments of tenderness in which will, pride, and every con- 
sideration were almost overwhelmed, she at last arrived at 
a fixed resolution. *' I will see him," she murmured. " He 
has virtually told me that he will not give up what he terms 
his principles for love. I shall not acknowledge my secret, 


but if he has discovered it, he shall learn that I also will not 
give up my principles for love." 

The next morning she quietly handed Clancy's note to 
Mrs. Hunter. 

" Shameful ! " ejaculated that lady. " Of course you will 
pay no attention to him, or else write a curt refusal. I 
insist on one course or the other." 

Mara looked steadfastly at her aunt until the worthy lady 
was somewhat disconcerted, and asked fretfully, " What do 
you mean by that look, Mara? " 

" Aunty, can't you realize that I am no longer a child, as 
he says? " 

" Well, but in a case like this " — 

" In a case like this which concerns me so personally, I 
must act according to my own judgment. You can be in 
the adjoining room. Indeed I have no objection to your 
hearing what is said, but I would rather you should not. 
You have no occasion to fear. Mr. Clancy has alienated me 
forever. I have no doubt that before the summer is over 
he will be engaged to Miss Ainsley, if he is not already 
engaged virtually. I have reasons for granting this final 
interview which are personal — which my self-respect re- 
quires, and, since they are personal, I need not mention 
them. There shall be no want of respect and affection for 
you, aunty, but you must reaUze that I have become an 
independent woman, and I have the entire right to decide 
certain questions for myself." 

" Well, I wash my hands of it all," said Mrs. Hunter 
coldly, "and since my strong convictions have no weight 
with you, and you intend to act independently of me, of 
course I shall not permit myself to hear a word of your 

"That will be the more dehcate and honorable course, 


" Well, Mara, I only wish I need not be in the house at 
the time." 

"Aunty, that is the same as saying that your enmity 
towards Mr. Clancy is greater than your love for me." 

" But I don't see the use of this intensely disagreeable 
interview. This is the only home I have." 

"And the only home I have also, aunty." 

" Oh, well, if you will, you will, I reckon." 

"Yes, if I will, I willy and Mr. Clancy shall learn that 
I have a will." 

As Aun' Sheba was departing that morning, Mara followed 
her into the hall-way, and, placing a note in her hand, said, 
" Give that to Mr. Clancy and to no other. Say nothing 
to him or to any one else. Do you understand, Aun' 

" I does, honey. Wen you talk dataway you'se heah an 
eyster shoutin' 'fore Aun' Sheba speak." 

Clancy only said, " Thank you," as he thrust a half-dollar 
into the old woman's hand. 

Aun' Sheba laid it on the desk, and remarked with great 
dignity, " I does some tings widout money." 

He paid no heed to her, but read eagerly, " Mr. Clancy, 
— Come this evening. Mara Wallingford." 

With a long breath he thought, " It will be my last chance. 
I fear it will be useless, but at no future day shall she think 
in bitterness of heart, ' He might have done more to save 
me.' " 

There was no sudden, involuntary illumination of her face 
on this occasion when he entered her little parlor, and she 
could not help noticing that his face was pale. She also 
saw from his expression that his spirit was as high as hers ; 
that there was not a trace of the lover, eager to plead 
his cause. " He has pleaded successfully elsewhere," she 
thought, and, in spite of all other conflicting feelings, she 


was curious to know what his motive could be in seeking 
the interview. 

"Good-evening, Mr. Clancy. Will j-ou sit down?" she 
said coldly. 

" Yes, Mara. Pardon me for calling you Mara. I am 
beyond any affectation of formality with you, and you know 
there is no lack of respect on my part." 

She merely bowed and waited in silence. 

" When you learn my motive for making my request, for 
coming here to-night, you will probably resent it, but you 
have taught me to expect little else except resentment from 

" Mr. Clancy, there is no cause for such language. Cer- 
tainly I was quietly pursuing the even tenor of my way." 

"Do you understand fully whither that way is leading? " 

"Truly, Mr. Clancy, that is a singular question for you 
to ask." 

" I understand you, Mara. You mean that it is no affair 
of mine." 

He knew that her silence gave assent to this view, and he 
answered as if she had spoken. 

" Nevertheless you are mistaken. It is an affair of mine. 
There could be no peace for me in the future if I failed you 
now, for it seems to me I am the only true friend you have 
in the world." 

"Mr. Clancy," she said hotly, "we have differed so greatly 
before that I might have been saved the pain of this inter- 
view, but we never differed as we do at this moment. I 
cannot listen to you any longer. It would be disloyalty to 
those who a7'e true friends — friends that I love and honor." 

" Do you love Captain Bodine ? " 

" Certainly I do. He was my father's friend ; he is my 
honored friend." 

" Do you love Captain Bodine ? " 


" What do you mean? " she asked angrily, flushing to her 
very brow. 

" Mara, be cahn. Listen to me as you value your life, as 
you value your own soul. Do you think I would come here 
for slight cause at such cost to us both? " 

" I think you are strangely mistaken in coming here, and 
using language which makes me doubt your sanity." 

" Please do me the justice to note that there is nothing 
wild in my manner, nor any excitement in my words." 

"Noting this, I find it more difficult to explain your 
course, or to pardon it." 

" It is not necessary at present, that you should do either. 
Please be patient a few minutes longer and my mission is 
ended. I am not pleading for myself, but for you. Please 
listen, or a time may come when in a bitterness beyond 
words you may regret that you did not hear me. Thank 
Heaven ! it is clear that I have not come too late. Captain 
Bodine is more than your friend in his feelings ; he is your 
lover, and you are so morbid, unfriended, unguided, that you 
are capable of sacrificing yourself" — 

" Hush ! you are wronging a man whom you are unworthy 
to name. He has never dreamed of such love as you 

" I am right. Oh, I have learned too deeply in the school 
of experience not to know. My warning may be of no avail, 
but you shall not drift unawares into this thing, you shall not 
enter into it, nor be persuaded into it from a false spirit of 
self-sacrifice " — 

" Mr. Clancy, I will not listen a moment longer to such 
preposterous language. You are passing far beyond the 
Hmits of my forbearance. If your conscience is burdened 
on my account because I am so 'unfriended,' I absolve you 
fully. You will and do know how to console yourself. Our 
interview must end here and now. It were disloyalty for me 


to listen a moment longer. We are strangers from this day 
forth, Mr. Clancy." And she rose flushed and trembling. 

He also rose, and with an intent look which held her gaze, 
said gently, " There is that which will speak although I am 


« Your heart." 

"If it broke a thousand times I will not speak to you 
again," she cried passionately. " Even if you were right it 
would be ignoble to suggest such a thing. Truly your associ- 
ations have led you far from the promise of your youth." 

" I have not said that your heart would plead for me," he 
replied sternly. " But it will plead against all that is un- 
natural, contrary to your young girlhood, contrary to the true, 
right instincts which God has created. You may seek to 
stifle its voice, but you cannot. When you are alone it will 
tell you, like the still small voice of God, that your obdurate 
will is wrong, that your narrow prejudices and morbid mem- 
ories are all wrong and vain ; — it will tell you that you 
cannot become the wife of this man, who would sacrifice 
you as a solace to his remaining years, without wrecking your 
happiness for life. Farewell, Mara Wallingford. There is 
one thing you can never forget — that I warned you." 

He bowed low and departed immediately. 


"the idea !" 

MARA was not the kind of girl that faints or goes into 
hysterics. The spirit of her father was aroused to the 
last degree. She felt that she had been arraigned and con- 
demned by one who had no right to do either ; that all the 
cherished traditions of her hfe had been trampled upon \ 
that her father's loved companion-in-arms, and her dear 
friend, had been insulted. Even wise, saintly Mrs. Bodine, 
her genial counsellor, had been ignored. " Was there ever 
such monstrous assumption ! " she cried, as she paced back 
and forth with clinched hands. 

She soon heard the step of Mrs. Hunter, and became 
outwardly calm. 

" Well? " said her aunt. 

" He won't come again, nor shall I speak to him again. 
Let these facts content you, aunty." 

"That much at least is satisfactory," said Mrs. Hunter, 
"but I think it was a wretched mistake to see him at 

" It was not a mistake, for he has revealed the depths into 
which a man can sink who adopts his course. I have some 
respect for an out-and-out Northerner, brought .up as such ; 
,but it does seem that when a man turns traitor, as it were, 
he goes to greater lengths than those whose camp he joins. 
He suspects those who are too noble for him to understand." 

"Whom does Mr. Clancy suspect?" 

" THE IDEA ! " 209 

" Oh, all of US. He came to advise me as an unprotected, 
unfriended, unguided girl." 

" Was there ever such impudence on the face of the 
earth ! " 

Mara sank exhausted into a chair in the inevitable re- 
action from her strong excitement. 

" Aunty, it is all over, and we shall not meet again except 
as strangers. Never say a word of his coming, of this inter- 
view, to any one. It is my affair, and I wish to forget it as 
far as possible." 

" You know I'm not a gossip, Mara, about family matters, 
especially disagreeable matters. Well, perhaps it will turn 
out for the best, since you have broken with him entirely. 
It always made me angry that he should continue to speak 
to you, and even sit down and talk to you at an evening 
company, when you could not repulse him without arresting 
the attention of every one." 

" Good-night, aunty. All that is over." 

" Mara, you must take an opiate to-night." 

" Yes ; give me something to make me sleep, that will 
bring oblivion for at least to-night. I must be ready for my 
work in the morning. It won't take me long no7v to attain 

" Mara," cried Ella the next day, "you look positively ill. 
I wish you could take a rest. Suppose we shut up shop for 
a while, and hang out a sign, ' closed for repairs.' " 

" No, Ella. I can stand it, if you can, till August, and 
then we will take a month's rest. I wasn't very well last 
night, but I have found a remedy which is going to help me, 
and I shall be better." 

Ella took the surface meaning of these words, and, being 
pre-occupied with her own thoughts, remained, as well as 
Mara, rather silent that morning. Although she assured her- 
self more than once that George Houghton was " iwthing to 


her," she found herself thinking a great deal about him, and 
what she termed "their droll experiences." Prone to take 
a mirthful view of every thing, she often laughed over the 
whole affair, and it grew rather than lost in interest with time. 
It was the first real adventure of her girlhood, and he was the 
first man who had retained more than a transient place in 
her thoughts. Feeling that their acquaintance had come 
about through no fault of hers, she was disposed to get all 
the fun possible out of what had occurred. 

The morning was warm, and she was working in charming 
dishabille. Dressed in light summer costume, thrown open 
at her throat, and with sleeves rolled to her shoulders, she 
appeared a veritable Hebe. Her bright, golden, fluffy hair 
was gathered carelessly into a Grecian knot, and her flushed 
face received more than one flour-mark as she impatiently 
brushed away the flies. 

Seeing her smiling to herself so often, Mara envied her, 
but made no comment. At last the girl broke into a ringing 

" What is amusing you so greatly? " Mara asked. 

" I can't get over that party at Mrs. Willoughby's. It was 
all so irresistibly comical. Cousin Sophy thinks she has a 
genius for choosing chaperons, and so she has, but fate is 
too strong for men and gods, not to mention saintly and 
secluded old ladies. I had scarcely more than entered the 
drawing-room, and taken my bearings, as cousin would 
say, when the worst Vandal of the lot is marched up to me, 
and I — green little girl — thought I must be polite to him 
and every one else. When I think of it all, I see that my 
chaperon was like a distressed hen with a duckling that 
would go into the water. Without any effort of mine, that 
great Goth, Mr. Houghton, submitted himself to my inspec- 
tion, and instead of being horrified, I have been laughing at 
him ever since. He struck me as an exceedingly harmless 

" THE IDEA !'' 211 

creature, with large capabilities for blundering. He would 
not step on a fly maliciously, yet poor Mrs. Robertson acted 
as if I were near an ogre who might devour me at a mouth- 
ful. How she did manoeuvre to keep that big fellow away 1 
and what a homily she gave me on our way home ! It all 
seems so absurd. I wish papa would not take such things 
so seriously, for I can't see any harm in making sport of the 

"Making sport for the Philistines — that is what your 
father and what we all object to. This young Houghton 
would very gladly amuse himself at your expense." 

"I'd like to see him try it," said Ella defiantly. "I'd 
turn the tables on him so quickly as to take away his 

" O Ella ! why do you think about such people at all? " 

" Because they amuse* me. What's the harm in thinking 
about him in my jolly way ? There's nothing bad about him. 
His worst crimes are, that he is comical and the son of his 

"How do you know there's nothing bad about him?" 

" For the same reason that I distrust Miss Ainsley. Each 
makes an impression which I believe is correct." 

" Well, well, Ella," said Mara, a little impatiently, " laugh 
it out and have done with him. For all our sakes, please 
have nothing more to do with such people." 

"I haven't sought 'such people,'" replied Ella, with a 
shrug; "but I tell you, Mara, I'm not going through life 
with my eyes shut, nor am I going to look through a pair^ 
of blue spectacles. See here, sweetheart, what did God 
give me eyes for ? What did he give me a brain for ? To 
see through some one else's eyes ? to think with the brain 
of another? No, indeed ; that's contrary to such reason and 
common sense as I possess." 

" You certainly will be guided by your father ? " 


" Yes, yes, indeed, in all that pertains to his welfare and 
happiness. I could die for him this minute, and would if it 
were required. But there are things which I cannot do for 
him or any one. I cannot ignore my own conscience and 
sense of right. I cannot think his thoughts any more than 
he can think mine. You dear, melancholy little goose, 
don't you know that God never rolls two people into one, 
even after they are married? They are, or should be, 
one in a vital sense, yet they are different, independent 
beings, and were made so. I'd like to know of any one 
in this town more bent upon having her own way than 

Mara was silent, for Ella had a way of putting things 
which disturbed her. 

" Cousin Sophy," said Ella in the afternoon, " hasn't the 
proper time come for me to mak§ my party call on Mrs. 
Willoughby? You are my Mentor in all that relates to eti- 
quette, and that giddy fraction of the world termed society." 

" Well, yes," said the old lady, " I suppose it is time. In 
the case of Mrs. Willoughby it will be litde more than a for- 
mality, for she is an acquaintance you will not care to culti- 
vate. You may be lucky enough to find her out, and then 
your card will answer all the purposes of a caU." 

" Oh, I know that much, cousin, if I am from the wilds 
of the interior \ but if she is in, I suppose I should sit down 
and talk about the weather a little while." 

"■ Go along, you saucy puss. Tell her how shocked you 
were to see old Houghton's son in her parlors." 

" Well, I was at first. Bah ! cousin, he's a great big boy, 
and doesn't know any more than I do about some things." 

" Well added. Tell her, then, we have enough Southern 
gendemen remaining, and there is no necessity of inviting 
big Northern hobble-de-hoys." 

" Oh ! I didn't mean that, cousin. Be fair now. He 

" THE IDEA / " 213 

was gentlemanly enough, as much so as the rest of them, 
but he was young and giddy, like myself, just as you used 
to be and are now sometimes ; " and she stopped the old 
lady's mouth with kisses, then ran to dress for the street. 

The kitchen Hebe of the morning was soon metamor- 
phosed into a very charmingly costumed young woman. 
Even Miss Ainsley was compelled to recognize the lovely 
and harmonious effect, although it did not bear the latest 
brand of fashion, or represent costly expenditure. 

Both she and Mrs. Willoughby were pleased as Ella 
stepped lighdy into the back parlor, and the young girl con- 
gratulated herself that she had come so opportunely, for 
they were evidently expecting visits like her own. 

One and another dropped in until Mrs. Willoughby was 
entertaining three or four in the front parlor. Miss Ainsley 
remained chatting with Ella, who felt that the Northern 
girl's remarks were largely tentative, evincing a wish to draw 
her out. Shrewd Ella soon began to generalize to such a 
degree that Miss Ainsley thought, " You are no fool," and 
had a growing respect for the " httle baker," as she had 
termed the young girl. 

Then Clancy appeared, and Ella was forgotten, but she 
saw the same unmistakable welcome which from some 
women would mean all that a lover could desire. Ella 
thought that a sligiit expression of vexation crossed his brow 
as he recognized in her Mara's partner and friend, but he 
spoke to her politely and even cordially. Indeed, no one 
could do otherwise, for her face would propitiate an ogre. 
She thought there was a spice of recklessness in Clancy's 
manner, and she heard him remark to Miss Ainsley that he 
had come to say good-by for a short time. That young 
woman led the way to the balcony and began to expostu- 
late ; and then Ella's attention was riveted on a tall young 
fellow, who was shaking hands with Mrs. Willoughby. 


'^ Good gracious ! " she thought, " what can I do if he 
sees me ? How can I ' shake off and avoid ' in this back 
parlor? I can't make a bolt for the front door or sneak out 
of the back door ; I can't sit here like a graven image if he 
comes " — 

" Miss Bodine ! Well, I'm lucky for once in my ill-fated 

" Oh ! I beg your pardon," remarked Ella, turning from 
the window, out of which she had apparently been gazing 
with intense pre-occupation. " Good-afternoon, Mr. Hough- 
ton." But he held out his hand with such imperative cor- 
diality that she had to take it. Then he drew up a chair to 
the corner of the sofa on which she sat and placed it in 
a way that barred approach or egress. " Oh, shade of Mrs. 
Hunter!" she groaned inwardly, "what can I do? I'm 
fairly surrounded — all avenues of retreat cut off. I must 
face the enemy and fight." 

"I knew the chance would come for us to get acquainted," 
said Houghton, settling himself complacently in the great 
arm-chair, " but I had scarcely hoped for such a happy 
opportunity as this so soon." 

" I must go in a few minutes," she remarked demurely. 
" I have been here some time." 

" Miss Bodine, you are not capable of such cruelty. You 
know it is very early yet." 

" I thought you came to call on Mrs. Willoughby?" 

" So I did, and I have called on her. See her talking 
ancient history to those dowagers yonder. What a figure 
I'd cut in that group." 

She laughed outright, as much from nervous trepidation 
as at the comical idea suggested, and was in an inward rage 
that she did so, for she had intended to be so dignified and 
cool as to depress and discourage the " objectionable per- 
son " who hedged her in. 

" THE IDEA / " 215 

" What a jolly, infectious laugh you have ! " he resumed. 
" To be able to laugh well is a rare accomplishment. Some 
snicker, others giggle, chuckle, cackle, make all sorts of 
disagreeable noises, but a natural, merry, musical laugh — 
Miss Bodine, I congratulate you, and myself also, that I 
happened in this blessed afternoon to hear it. And that 
terrible chaperon of yours isn't here either. How she 
frowned on me the other evening as if I were a wolf in the 
fold," and the young man broke into a clear ringing laugh 
at the recollection. 

Ella was laughing with him in spite of herself. Indeed 
the more she tried to be grave and severe the more impos- 
sible it became. 

" Mr. Houghton," she managed to say at last, " will you 
do me a favor?" 

"Scores of them." 

" Then stop making me laugh. I don't wish to laugh." 

His face instantly assumed such portentous and awful 
gravity that he set her off again to such a degree that the 
dowagers in the other room looked at her rebukingly. It 
was bad enough, they thought, that she should talk to old 
Houghton's son at all, but to show such unbecoming levity 
— well, it was not what they would " expect of a Bodine." 
Ella saw their disapproval, and felt she was losing her self- 
control. The warnings she had received against her com- 
panion embarrassed her, and banished the power to be her 
natural self. 

" Please don't," she gasped, " or I shall go at once. I 
asked a favor." 

*' Pardon me. Miss Bodine," he now said in a tone and 
manner which quieted her nerves at once. " I have blun- 
dered again, but I was so happy to think that I had met 
you here. I am not wholly a rattle-brain. What would 
you like to talk about?" and he looked so kindly and 


eager to please her that she cast down her eyes and con- 
tracted her brow in deepest perplexity. 

"Truly, Mr. Houghton, I should be on my way home- 
ward, and you have so hedged me in that I cannot escape." 

" Is running away from me escaping? " 

" I don't like that phrase ' running away.' " 

" Yet that is what you propose to do." 

" Oh, no, I shall take my departure in a very composed 
and dignified manner." 

His face had the expression of almost boyish distress. 
" You find on further thought that you cannot forgive me ? " 
he asked sadly. 

" Did I not say that was all explained and settled ? 
Southern girls are not fickle or false to their word." And 
she managed to assume an aspect of great dignity. " If 
I do not shake him off in the next few minutes I'm lost," 
she thought. 

" I've offended you again," he said anxiously. 

She took refuge in silence. 

" Miss Bodine, I ask your pardon. You know I can't do 
more than that, or, if I can, tell me what. I wish to please 
you very much." 

The girl was at her wit's end, for his ingenuous expression 
emphasized the truth of his words. "There is no reason 
why you should please me," she began coolly, and then knew 
not how to proceed. 

" Let us be frank with each other," he resumed earnestly. 
" We are too young yet to indulge in society lies. When a 
man apologizes at the North he is forgiven. I have been 
told that Southerners are a generous, warm-hearted people. 
In their cool treatment of me they counteract the chmate. 
Are you, too, going to ostracize me ? " 

" I fear I shall have to," she replied faintly. 

" Of your own free will? " 

" THE IDEA / " 217 

" No, indeed." 

His heart gave a great throb of joy, but he had the sense 
to conceal his gladness. He only said quietly, "Well, I'm 
glad that you at least do not detest me." 

" Why should I detest you, Mr. Houghton? " 

" I'm sure I don't know why any one should. I have 
never harmed any one in this town that I know of." 

She knew not how to answer, for she could not reflect 
upon his father. 

*' I don't care about others, but your case." 

"Truly, Mr. Houghton," she began hastily, " this is a large 
city. A few impoverished Southern people are nothing to 

" I was not thinking of Southern people," he replied 
gravely. " You said a moment since you saw no reason why 
I should try to please you. Am I to blame if you have 
inspired many reasons? I know you better than any girl in 
the world. You revealed your very self in a moment of 
danger to me as you thought. I saw that you were good 
and brave — that you possess just the qualities that I most 
respect and admire in a woman. Every moment I am with 
you confirms this belief. Why should I not wish to please 
you, to become your friend? I know I should be the better 
in every respect if you were my friend." 

She shook her head, but did not venture to look at him. 

"You believe I am sincere, Miss Bodine. You cannot 
think I am sentimental or flirtatious. I would no more do 
you wrong, even in my thoughts, than I would think evil of 
my dead mother. You are mirthful in your nature ; so am 
I, but I do not think that either of us is shallow or silly. 
If I am personally disagreeable, that ends ever}' thing, but 
how can a man secure the esteem and friendly regard of a 
woman, when he covets these supremely, unless he speaks 
and reveals his feelings ? " 


" You are talking wildly, Mr. Houghton," said Ella, with 
averted face. " We have scarcely more than met." 

" You would lead me to think that you Southern people 
are tenfold colder and more deliberate than we of the North. 
You may not have thought of me since we met, but I have 
thought of you constantly. I could not help it." 

Ella felt that she must escape now as if for her life, and, 
summoning all her faculties and resolution, she said, looking 
him in the eyes, " I've no doubt, Mr. Houghton, you think 
you are sincere in your words at this moment, but you may 
soon wonder that you spoke such hasty words." 

" In proving you mistaken, time will be my ally." 

"You have asked me to be frank," she resumed. "In 
justice to you and myself I feel that I must be so. I do not 
share in the prejudices, if you prefer that word, of my father, 
but I must be governed by his wishes. I trust that you will 
not ask me to say more. Won't you please let me go now? 
See, the last guests are leaving." 

"Tell me one thing," he pleaded eagerly as he rose. " I 
am not personally disagreeable to you? " 

" The idea of my telling you any thing of the kind ! " and 
there was a flash of mirthfulness in her face which left him 
in a most tormenting state of uncertainty. A moment later 
she had shaken hands with Mrs. Willoughby, and was gone. 

He stood looking after her, half-dazed by his conflicting 
feelings. Turning, Mrs. Willoughby saw and understood 
him at once. She came to his side and said kindly, " Sit 
down, Mr. Houghton, I've not had a chance to talk with 
you yet." 

With an involuntary sigh he complied. 




MRS. WILLOUGHBY was a woman of the world, yet 
in no bad sense. Indeed, beneath the veneer of 
fashionable hfe she possessed much kindliness of nature. 
She was capable of a good deal of cynicism towards those 
who she said "ought to be able to take care of them- 
selves," and in this category she placed Clancy and Miss 
Ainsley. " I shall leave both to paddle their own canoes," 
she had said to herself. 

Looking kindly at Houghton, who seemed to have lost 
his volubility, and waited for her to speak again, she thought, 
" If this young fellow was infatuated with Caroline I'd warn 
him quick enough." With the astuteness of a matron she 
merely remarked, " You seem greatly pleased with my little 
friend. Miss Bodine. You must not trifle with her, if she 
is poor, for she comes of one of the best families in the 

" Trifle with Miss Bodine ! What do you take me for, 
Mrs. Willoughby?" and he rose indignantly. 

" There, now, sit down, my friend. I only said that so 
you might reveal how sincere you are, and I won't use any 
more diplomacy with you." 

"I hope not," he replied laughing grimly. "You ought 
to know, what I am fast finding out, that a young fellow, 
like me, can no more understand a woman, unless she is 
frank, than he can Choctaw." 


Mrs. Willoughby laughed heartily, and said, " I'll be frank 
with you, if you will be so with me." 

" Then tell me why I am treated by so many in your set 
as if I had overrun the South with fire and sword?" 

His first question proved that she could not be frank, for 
in order to give an adequate explanation she would have to 
reveal to him his father's animus and the hostility it evoked. 
She temporized by saying, "I do not so treat you, and 
surely Miss Bodine seemed to enjoy your conversation." 

"I'm not so sure of that. At any rate she said she 
would have to ostracize me like the rest." 

" She was kind in telling you that she would have to do 
so. She certainly bears you no ill-will." 

" She probably does not care enough about me yet to do 
that. The worst of it is that I shall have no chance. Her 
father objects to her having any thing to do with me, and 
that blocks every thing. Even if I were capable of seeking 
a clandestine acquaintance, she is not. She is a thoroughly 
good girl ; she doesn't know how to be deceitful." 

" I'm glad you appreciate her so truly." 

" I'd be a donkey if I didn't," 

" Well, don't be unwise in your future action." 

"What action can I take?" and he looked at her almost 
imploringly. A young man of his age is usually very ready 
to make a confidant of a married woman older than himself, 
yet young enough to sympathize with him in affairs of the 
heart. Houghton instinctively felt that the case might 
not be utterly hopeless if he could secure an ally in Mrs. 
Willoughby, for he recognized her tact, and believed that 
she was friendly. He promptly determined therefore to 
seek and to take her advice. 

She looked at him searchingly as she said, " Perhaps 
it would be best not to take any action at all. If Miss 
Bodine has made only a passing and pleasant impression. 


and you merely desire to secure another agreeable acquaint- 
ance you had better stop where you are. It will save you 
much annoyance, and, what is of far more consequence, may 
keep her from real trouble. As you suggest, you cannot 
do any thing in an underhand way. If you attempted it, 
you would lose her respect instantly, your own also. She 
idolizes her father, and will not act contrary to his wishes. 
Why not let the matter drop where it is? " 

"Can't take any such advice as that," he replied, shaking 
his head resolutely. 

"Why not?" 

" Oh, confound it ! Suppose some one, years ago, had 
advised Mr. Willoughby in such style." 

" Is it as serious as that? " 

He passed his hand in perplexity over his brow, " Mrs. 
Willoughby, he burst out, " I'm in deep water. ' I reckon,' 
as you say here, you understand me better than I do myself. 
I only know that I'd face all creation for the sake of that 
girl, yet what you say about making her trouble, staggers me. 
I'm in sore perplexity, and don't know what to do." 

" Will you take my advice? " 

"Yes, I will, as long as I believe you are my honest 
friend, as long as I can." 

"Well, you won't try to see Ella before you have con- 
sulted me? " 

" I promise that." 

" Don't do any thing at present. Think the matter over 
quietly and conscientiously. I'm sorry I must make one 
other suggestion. I fear your father would be as much 
opposed to all this as Captain Bodine himself." 

" I think not. My father is not so stern as he seems. At 
least he is not stern to me, and he has let me spend more 
money than my neck's worth. I fancy he is well disposed 
towards Captain Bodine, for he has given him employment. 


I asked the old gentleman about it one day, but he changed 
the subject. He wouldn't have employed the captain, how- 
ever, unless he was interested in him some way." 

" Why wouldn't he?" 

" Oh, well, he naturally prefers to have Northerners about 

" Will you permit me to be a little more frank than I have 
been? " 

" I supposed you were going to be altogether frank." 

" For fear of hurting your feelings I have not been. Your 
father is not friendly to us, and we reciprocate. This makes 
it harder for you," 

Houghton thought in silence for a few moments, and then 
said, " You should make allowance for an old man, half 
heart-broken by the death of his oldest son, drowned in the 
bay there." 

"I do j so would others, if he were not vindictive, if he 
did not use his great financial strength against us." 

" I don't think he does this, certainly not to my knowl- 
edge. He only seeks to make all he can, like other 
business men." 

" Mr. Houghton, you haven't been very much in Charles- 
ton. Even your vacations have been spent mainly else- 
where, I think, and your mind has been occupied with 
your studies and athletics. You are more familiar with 
Greek and Roman history than with ours, and you cannot 
understand the feelings of persons like Captain Bodine and 
his cousin, old Mrs. Bodine, who passed through the agony 
of the war, and lost nearly every thing, — kindred, property, 
and what they deem liberty. You cannot understand your 
own father, who lost his son. You think of the present and 

Houghton again sighed deeply as he said, " I admit the 
force of all you say. I certainly cannot feel as they do, nor 


perhaps understand them." Then he added, " I wouldn't 
if I could. Why should I tie the mill-stone of the past 
about my neck? " 

" You should not do so ; but you must make allowance 
for those to whom that past is more than the present or 
future can be." 

" Why can't they forgive and forget, as far as possible, as 
you do? " 

" Because people are differendy constituted. Besides, 
young man, I am not old enough to be your grandmother. 
I was very young at the time of the war, and have not 
suffered as have others," 

" Grandmother, indeed ! I should think that Mr. Wil- 
loughby would fall in love with you every day." 

" The grand passion has a rather prominent place in your 
thoughts just now. Some day you will be like Mr. ^Vil- 
loughby, and cotton, stocks, or their equivalents, will take a 
very large share of your thoughts." 

"Well, that day hasn't come yet. Even the wise man 
said there was a time for all things. How long must my 
probation last before I can come back for more advice?" 

" A week, at least." 

" Phew ! " 

" You must think it all over, as I said before, calmly and 
conscientiously. I have tried to enable you to see the sub- 
ject on all its sides, and I tell you again that you may find 
just as much opposition from your father, as from Captain 
Bodine. He may have very different plans for you. Ella 
Bodine has nothing but her own good heart' to give you, j 
supposing you were able to persuade her to give that 

"That much would enrich me forever." 

" Your father wouldn't see it in that light. He may call 
her that designing litde baker." 


" I hope he won't, for God's sake. I never said a hot 
word to my father." 

" Never do so, then. If you lose your temper, all is lost. 
But we are anticipating. Sober, second thoughts may lead 
you to save yourself and others a world of trouble." 

" Oh ! I've had second thoughts before. Good-by. At 
this hour, one week hence ; " and he shook hands heartily. 

A moment later, he came rushing back from the hall, 
exclaiming, " There ! See, what a blunderbuss I am ! I 
forgot to thank you, which I do, with all my heart." 

" Ah ! " sighed the mature woman, as her guest finally 
departed, " I'd take all his pains for the possibilities of his 

Ella had not been mistaken in thinking that she detected 
a trace of recklessness in Clancy's manner. He had been 
compelled to believe that Mara was in truth lost to him \ 
that her will and pride would prove stronger than her heart. 
Indeed, he went so far as to believe that her heart, as far as 
he was concerned, was not giving her very much trouble. 

" I fear she has become so morbid and warped by the 
malign influences that have surrounded her from infancy," 
he had thought, " that she cannot love as I love. My best 
hope now is, that when Bodine begins to show his game 
more clearly, she will remember my words. It's horrible to 
think that she may develop into a woman like Mrs. Hunter. 
Until this evening, I have always believed there was a sweet, 
womanly soul imprisoned in her bosom, but now I don't 
know what to think. I'll go off to the mountains on the 
pretence of a fishing excursion, and get my balance again." 

The following morning had been spent in preparations, 
and the afternoon, as we have seen, found him at Mrs. 
Willoughby's. His sore heart and bitter mood were solaced 
by Miss Ainsley's unmistakable welcome. He knew he did 
not care for her in any deep and lasting sense, and he much 


doubted whether her interest in him was greater than that 
which she had bestowed upon others in the past. But she 
diverted his thoughts, flattered the self-love which Mara had 
wounded so ruthlessly, and above all fascinated him by her 
peculiar beauty and intellectual brilliancy. 

"Why are you going away?" she asked reproachfully, 
when they were seated on the balcony. 

" Oh, I've been working hard. I'm going off to the 
mountains to fish and rest." 

" I hope you'll catch cold, and come back again soon." 

" What a disinterested friend ! " 

"You are thinking only of yourself; why shouldn't I do 
likewise ? " 

" No, I'm thinking of you." 

" Of course, at this minute. You'd be apt to think of a 
lamp-post if you were looking at it." 

" Please don't put out the sunshine with your brilliancy." 

" Ironical too ! What is the matter to-day? " 

" What penetration ! Reveal your intuitions. Have I 
failed in business, or been crossed in love ? " 

"The latter, I fancy." 

" Well then, how can I better recover peace of mind and 
serenity than by going a-fishing? You know what Izaak 
Walton says " — 

" Oh, spare me, please, that ancient worthy ! You are as 
cold-blooded as any fish that you'll catch. If I find it 
stupid in Charleston I'll go North." 

" That threat shakes my very soul. I promise to come 
back in a week or ten days." 

" Or a month or so," she added, looking hurt. 

"Come, my good friend," he said laughing. "We're too 
good fellows, as you wished we should be, to pretend to any 
forlornness over a parting of this kind. You will sleep as 
sweetly and dreamlessly as if you had never seen Owen 


Clancy, and I will write you a letter, such as a man would 
write to a man, telling you of my adventures. If I don't 
meet any I'll bring some about, — get shot by the moon- 
lighters, save a mountain maid from drowning in a trout 
pool, or fall into the embrace of a black bear." 

" The mountain maid, you mean." 

" Did I? Well, your penetration passes bounds." 

" You may go, if you will write the letter. There must 
be no dime-novel stories in it, no drawing on your imagina- 
tion. It shall be your task to make interesting just what 
you see and do." 

"Please add the twelve labors of Hercules." 

" No trifling. I'm in earnest, and put you on your mettle 
in regard to that letter. Unless you do your best, your 
friendship is all a pretence. And remember what you said 
about its being a letter to a man. If you begin in a con- 
ventional way, as if writing to a lady, I'll burn it without 

"Agreed. Good -by, old fellow — beg pardon. Miss 

She laughed and said, " I like that ; good-by." And she 
gave him a warm, soft hand, in a rather lingering clasp. 

When he was gone she murmured softly, " Yes, he has a 



Ella's crumb of comfort. 

ELLA walked up Meeting Street in a frame of mind dif- 
fering widely from the complacent mood in which she 
sought Mrs. Willoughby's residence. The unexpected had 
again happened, and to her it seemed so strange, so very 
remarkable, that she should have met Mr. Houghton once 
more without the slightest intention, or even expectation, on 
her part, that she was perplexed and troubled. What did it 

In matters purely personal, and related closely to our own 
interests, we are prone to give almost a superstitious signifi- 
cance to events which come about naturally enough. It was 
not at all strange that Houghton should have been strongly 
and agreeably impressed by Ella from the first ; and that he 
should happen to call at the same hour that she did, would 
have been regarded by her as a very ordinary coincidence, 
had not the case been her own. Since it was her own, she 
was almost awed by the portentous interview from which she 
had just escaped. The inexperienced girl found her cher- 
ished ideas in respect to young Houghton completely at fault. 
She had sighed that she could not meet him without restraint 
or embarrassment, for, as she had assured herself, " It would 
be such fun." She had supposed that she could laugh at 
him and with him indefinitely, — that he would be a source 
of infinite jest and amusement. He had banished all these 
illusions in a few brief moments. How could she make sport 


of a man who had coupled her name with that of his dead 
mother ? His every glance, word, and tone expressed sin- 
cere respect and admiration, and, she had to admit to her- 
self, something more. She was so sincere herself, so unsullied, 
so lacking in the callousness often resulting from much con- 
tact with the world, that it seemed to her that it would be a 
profanation henceforth to regard him as the butt of even the 
innocent ridicule of which she was capable. Yet in all her 
perplexity and trouble there was a confused exhilaration and 
a glad sense of power. 

" To thmk that I, little Ella Bodine, a baker by trade," 
she thought, " should have inspired that big fellow to talk 
as he did ! He is apology embodied, and seems far more 
afraid of me than he was of that great bully on the street." 
And she bent her head to conceal a laugh of exultation. 

Then she remembered her father, and her face grew 
troubled. " I shall have to tell him," she murmured, " and 
then the old scene will be enacted over again. A plague on 
that old shadow of the war ! If I were a man I'd fight it out 
and then shake hands." 

Soon after reaching home she heard her father's crutches 
on the sidewalk, and ran dov%ai to meet him. In accordance 
with her custom, she took away one crutch, and supported 
him to a chair in the parlor. He kissed her fondly, and 
remarked, " You look a little pale, Ella."' 

" I feel pale, papa. I've something to tell you, and you 
must listen patiently and sensibly. I've met Mr. Houghton 

The veteran's face darkened instantly, but he waited till 
5he explained further. 

"Now see how you begin to look," she resumed. "You 
are judging me already. You can't be even fair to your o\mi 

" It would rather seem that you are judging me, Ella." 


" Oh, bother it all ! " she exclaimed. " I wish I could be 
simple and natural in this affair, for I was so embarrassed 
and constrained that I fear I acted like a fool. Well, I'll 
tell you how it happened. After lunch I asked Cousin Sophy 
if it was not time for me to make my party call on Mrs. 
Willoughby, and she said it was. I found that Mrs. Wil- 
loughby was expecting callers. We chatted a few minutes, 
and then others came, Mr. Houghton among them. I no 
more expected to meet him than I expected to meet you 
there. After shaking hands with Mrs. Willoughby he came 
to me in the back parlor instantly, and drew up a chair, so 
that I could not escape unless I jumped over him. He 
began with such funny speeches that I got laughing, as much 
from nervousness as any thing else, for I'd been so warned 
against him that I couldn't be myself." 

"You shall not go to Mrs. Willoughby's again," said her 
father decidedly. 

"Now please listen till I'm all through. He soon saw 
that I did not want to laugh, and stopped his nonsense. He 
wanted to become acquainted, friendly, you know; and 
finally I had to tell him that it couldn't be, — that I must 
be governed by your wishes." 

" Ah, that was my dear, good, sensible girl ! " 

" No, papa, I don't feel sensible at all. On the contrary, 
I have a mean, absurd feeling, — just as if I had gone to 
Mrs. Willoughby's and slapped a child because it was a 
Northern child." 

He laughed at this remark, for she unconsciously gave the 
hiipression that she had been more repellant than had actu- 
ally been true. He soon checked himself, however, and said 
gravely, " Ella, you take these things too seriously." 

" No, papa, it seems to me that it is you and Cousin and 
Mara who take these things too seriously. What harm has 
that young fellow ever done any of us? " 


" He could do me an immense deal of harm if you gave 
him your thoughts, and became even friendly. I should be 
exceedingly unhappy." 

" Oh, well ! that isn't possible, — I mean, that we should 
become friendly. I certainly won't permit him to speak 
to me in the streets, although I spoke to him once in the 
street. Oh, I'm going to tell you every thing now ! " and 
she related the circumstances of her first meeting with 

"All this is very painful to me," her father said, with 
clouded brow. " But, as you say, it has come about without 
intention on your part. I am glad you have told me every 
thing, for now I can better guard you from future mischances. 
My relations to this young man's father are such that it would 
make it very disagreeable, indeed, positively unendurable, 
if his son should seek your society. You should also 
remember that Mr. Houghton would be as bitterly hostile 
to any such course on his son's part as I am. Your pride, 
apart from my wishes, should lead you to repel the shghtest 

" I reckon your wishes will have the most influence, papa. 
I have too strong a sense of justice to punish the son on 
account of his father." 

"You cannot separate them, Ella. Think of our own 
relation. What touches one touches the other." 

" Well, papa, it's all over, and I've told you every thing. 
Since I'm not to go to Mrs. Willoughby's any more, there 
is litde probability that I shall meet him again, except in 
the street. If he bows to me, I shall return the courtesy 
with quiet dignity, for he has acted like a gentleman towards 
me, and, for the sake of my own self-respect, I must act 
like a lady towards him. If he seeks to talk to me, I shall 
fell him it is forbidden, and that will end it, for he is too 
honorable to attempt any thing clandestine." 


" I'm not sure of that." 

" I am, papa. He wouldn't be such an idiot, for he 
understands me well enough to know what would be the 
result of that kind of thing. But he isn't that kind of a 

" How should you know what kind of a man he is ? " 

" Oh, Heaven has provided us poor women with intui- 
tions ! " 

" True, to a certain extent, but the rule is proved by an 
awful lot of exceptions." 

" Perhaps if they were studied out, inclinations rather 
than intuitions were followed." 

" Well, my dear, we won't discuss these vague questions. 
Your duty is as simple and clear as mine is. Do as you 
have promised, and all will be well. I must now dress for 
dinner." And kissing her affectionately, he went up to his 

She took his seat, and looked vacantly out of the window, 
with a vague dissatisfaction at heart. Unrecognized fully as 
yet, the great law of nature, which brings to each a distinct 
and separate existence, was beginning to operate. As she 
had said to Mara, vital interests were looming up, new expe- 
riences coming, of which she could no more think his 
thoughts than he hers. 

Her face was a little clouded when she sat down to dinner, 
and she observed Mrs. Bodine looking at her keenly. In- 
stinctively she sought to conceal her deeper feelings, and to 
become her mirthful self. 

" You have not told me about your call yet," the old lady 

" Well, I felt that papa should have the first recital. I 
met again the son of that old — ahem ! — Mr. Houghton, 
and I have begun to ostracize him." 

"Ella," said her father, almost sternly, "do not speak in 


that way. Our feelings are strong, sincere, and well- 

"There, papa, I did not mean to reflect lightly upon 
them. Indeed, I was not thinking of them, but of Mr. 

" O Cousin Hugh ! let the child talk in her own natural 
way. She wouldn't scratch one of your crutches with a pin, 
much less hurt you." 

" Forgive me, Ella," he said, " I misunderstood you." 

" Yes, in the main, papa, but to be frank, I don't enjoy 
this ostracizing business, and I hope I won't have any more 
of it to do." 

"There is no reason why you should. Cousin Sophy, 
there should be people enough in Charleston for Ella to 
visit without the chance of meeting Mr. Houghton, or any 
of his ilk." 

"So there are. I'll manage that. Well, Ella, how did 
you set about ostracizmg young Houghton? " And the old 
lady began to laugh. 

" It's no laughing matter," said Ella, shaking her head 
ruefully. " He was frank and polite and respectful as any 
young gentleman would be under similar circumstances, and 
he wanted to become better acquainted, call on me, I sup- 
pose, and all that, but I had to tell him virtually that he was 
an objectionable person." 

" I would rather this subject should not be discussed any 
further," said her father gravely. 

" So would I," Ella added. " Papa and I have settled the 
matter, and Mr. Houghton is to recede below the horizon." 

The old lady thought that when Ella was alone with her 
she would get all the details of the interview, but she was 
mistaken. The girl not only grew more and more averse to 
speaking of Houghton, but she also felt that what he had 
said so frankly and sincerely to her was not a proper theme 


for gossip, even with kindly old Mrs. Bodine, and that a 
certain degree of loyalty was due to him, as well as to her 
father and cousin. 

The captain had some writing on hand that night, and 
Ella read aloud to her cousin till it was time to retire. 
Apparently the evening passed uneventfully away ; yet few 
recognize the eventful hours of their lives. A subtile and 
mysterious change was taking place in the girl's nature which 
in time she would recognize. More than once she mur- 
mured, " How can I be hostile to him ? He said he could 
no more do me wrong, even in his thoughts, than think evil 
of his dead mother. He said he would be better if I were 
his friend, and he is as good-hearted this minute as I am. 
Yet I must treat him as if he were not fit to be spoken to. 
Well, I reckon it will hurt me as much as it does him. 
There's some comfort in that." 




IT was inevitable that Mara should pay the penalty of 
being at variance with nature and her own heart. The 
impulses of youth had been checked and restrained. In- 
stead of looking forward, like Ella, she was turning ever 
backward, and drawing her inspiration from the past, and a 
dead, hopeless past, at that. It fell upon her like a shadow. 
All its incentive tended towards negation, prompting her to 
frown on changes, progress, and the hopefulness springing 
up in many hearts. The old can hug their gloom in a sort 
of complacent misanthropy ; the young cannot. If they are 
unhappy they chafe, and feel in their deepest consciousness 
that something is wrong. Mara laid the blame chiefly upon 
Clancy, believing, that, if he had taken the course adopted 
by Captain Bodine, she could have been happy with him in 
an attic. His words, at their interview, were not the only 
causes of her intense indignation and passion. Although 
she was incensed to the last degree, that he should charge 
Captain Bodine with such " preposterous " motives and 
intentions, she was also aware that her fierce struggles with 
her own heart, at the time, distracted and confused her. 
She could not maintain the icy demeanor she had resolved 

Left to herself, the long afternoon and evening of the 
following day, she had time for many second thoughts. She 
was compelled to face in solitude the hard problems of her 


life. Anger died out, and its support was lost. She had 
driven away the only man she loved, or could ever love, 
and she had used language which he could never forget, 
or be expected to forgive. The more she thought of his 
motive in seeking the interview, the more perplexed apd 
troubled she became. As now in calmer mood she recalled 
his words and manner, she could not delude herself with 
the belief that he came only in his own behalf, or that he 
was prompted by jealousy. She remembered the grim 
frankness with which he said virtually, that he had nothing 
to hope from her, not even tolerance. She almost writhed 
under the fact that he had again compelled her to believe 
that, however mistaken, he was sincere and straightforward, 
that he truly thought that Bodine was lover rather than 

She would not, could not imagine, that this was true, and 
yet she groaned aloud, " He has destroyed my chief solace. 
I was almost happy with my father's friend, and was coming 
to think of him almost as a second father. Now, when with 
him I shall have a miserable self-consciousness, and a dis- 
position to interpret his words and manner in a way that 
will do him hateful wrong. Oh, what is there for me to look 
forward to? What is the use of living?" 

These final words indicated one of Mara's chief needs. 
She craved some motive, some powerful incentive, which 
could both sustain and inspire. Mere existence, with its 
ordinary pleasures and interests, did not satisfy her at all. 
Clancy's former question in regard to her devotion to the 
past and the dead, "What goodwill it do?" haunted her 
like a spectre. He had again made the dreary truth more 
clear, that there was nothing in the future to which she 
could give the strong allegiance of her soul. She would 
work for nothing, suffer for nothing, hope for nothing, except 
her daily bread. As she said, the friendship of Bodine was 


but a solace, great indeed, but inadequate to the deep 
requirements of a nature like hers. She knew she was 
leading a dual Hfe, — cold, reserved, sternly self-restrained 
outwardly, yet longing with passionate desire for the love 
she had rejected, and, since that was impossible, for some- 
thing else, to which she could consecrate her life, with the 
feeling that it was worth the sacrifice. If she had been 
brought up in the Roman Catholic religion, she might have 
been led to the austere life of a nun. But, in her morbid 
condition, she was incapable of understanding the whole- 
some faith, the large, sweet liberty of those who remain 
closely allied to humanity in the world, yet purifying and 
saving it, by the sympathetic tenderness of Him who had 
" compassion on the multitude." She had still much to 
learn in the hard school of experience. 

The next day, Ella was nothing like so voluble as usual. 
Little frowns and moments of deep abstraction took the 
place of the mirthful smiles of the day before. Neverthe- 
less, her strong love for Mara led her to speak quite freely 
of her experience during her call at Mrs. Willoughby's. As 
Mara's closest friend, she felt that reticence was a kind of 
disloyalty. It was also true that out of the abundance of 
her heart she was prone to speak. At the same time, the 
belief grew stronger hourly that she had a secret which she 
had not revealed, and could not reveal to any one. The 
more she thought over Houghton's words and manner, the 
more sure she became that his interest in her was not 
merely a passing fancy. Maidenly reserve, however, for- 
bade even a hint of what might seem to others a conceited 
and indelicate surmise. She therefore gave only the humor- 
ous side of her meeting with Houghton again, and laughed 
at Mara's vexation. So far from being afraid of her friend, 
she rather enjoyed shocking her. At last she said, " There, 
Mara, don't take it so to heart. Papa says I must ostracize 


him, and so Goth and Vandal he becomes, — the absurd 
idea ! " 

" Your father would not require you to do any thing 

" No, not what was absurd to him ; but he does not know 
Mr. Houghton any more than you do. It's not only absurd, 
but it's wrong, from my point of view." 

" O Ella, I'm sorry you feel so different from the rest of 

" Why do you feel different from so many others, Mara ? 
It isn't to please this or that one, or because you have been 
told to think or to feel thus and so. You have your views 
and convictions because you are Mara Wallingford, and not 
some one else. Am I made of putty any more than you 
are, sweetheart? " 

Her words were like a stab to Mara, for the thought 
flashed into her mind, •* I have required that Clancy should 
be putty under my will." Ella, in her simple common-sense, 
often made remarks which disturbed Mara's cherished belief 
that she was right and Clancy all wrong. 

As a very secondary matter of interest to her, Ella at last 
began to speak of Clancy and Miss Ainsley. " If ever a 
girl courted a man with her eyes that feminine riddle courts 
Mr. Clancy. I don't think I ever could be so far gone as to 
look at a man as she does at him, unless I was engaged." 

" How does he look at her? " Mara asked with simulated 

" Oh, there's some freemasonry between them, probably 
an engagement or an understanding ! She expostulated 
against his going away as if she had the right. I don't 
think he cares for her as I would wish a man to care for 
me, for there was a humorous, half-reckless gleam in his 
eyes. It may be all natural enough though," she added 
musingly. " I don't believe Miss Ainsley could inspire an 


earnest, reverent love. A man wouldn't associate her in his 
thoughts with his dead mother." 

" What a strange expression ! What put it into your 
mind? " 

" Oh," replied Ella hastily, and flushing a little, " I've 
been told that Mr. Clancy's parents are dead ! A plague 
on them both, and all people that I can't understand, — I 
don't mean the dead Clancys, but these two who are fooling 
like enough. You should be able to interpret Clancy better 
than I, for Cousin Sophy says you were once very good 

" I cannot remain the friend of any one who is utterly 
out of sympathy with all that I believe is right and dignified." 

" Well, Mara, forgive me for saying it, but Mr. Clancy 
may have had convictions also." 

" Undoubtedly," replied Mara coldly, " but there can be 
no agreeable companionship between clashing minds." 

" No, I suppose not," said Ella laughing ; " not if each 
insists that both shall think exactly alike. It would be like 
two engines meeting on the same track. They must both 
back out, and go different ways." 

" Well, I've backed out," Mara remarked almost sternly. 

" That's like you, Mara dear. Well, well, I hope the war 
will be over some day. By the way, papa told me to tell 
you that he was busy last evening, but that he would call 
this afternoon for a breathing with you on the Battery." 

At the usual hour the veteran appeared. Mara's greet- 
ing was outwardly the same ; nevertheless, Clancy's words 
haunted her, and her old serene unconsciousness was gone. 
Now that her faculties were on the alert, she soon began to 
recognize subtile, unpremeditated indications of the light in 
which Bodine had begun to regard her, and a sudden fear 
and repugnance chilled her heart. " Was Clancy right after 
all? " she began to ask herself in a sort of dread and pre- 


sentiment of trouble. Instinctively, and almost involuntarily, 
she grew slightly reserved and distant in manner, ceasing 
to meet his gaze in her former frank, affectionate way. 
With quick discernment he appreciated the change, and 
thought, " She is not ready yet, and, indeed, may never be 
ready." His manner, too, began to change, as a cloud 
gradually loses something of its warmth of color. Mara 
was grateful, and in her thoughts paid homage to his tact 
and deUcacy. 

" Mara," he said, " has Ella told you of her experiences 
at Mrs. Willoughby's ? " 

"Yes, quite fully. I should think, however, from lier 
words that you were more truly her confidant." 

"Yes, she has acted very honorably, just as I should 
expect she would, and yet I am anxious about her. I wish 
she sympathized with us more fully in our desire to live 
apart from those who are inseparable in our thoughts from 
the memory of ' all our woes,' as Milton writes." 

" I have often expressed just this regret to Ella ; but she 
loves us all, and especially you, so dearly that I have no 
anxiety about her action." 

" No, Mara, not her action ; I can control that : but I 
should be sorry indeed if she became interested in this 
young man. There is often a perversity about the heart 
not wholly amenable to reason." 

Poor Mara thought she knew the truth of this remark if 
any one did, nor could she help fancying that her companion 
had himself in mind when he spoke. 

" Young Houghton," he resumed, " is beginning to make 
some rather shy, awkward advances, as if to secure my 
favor, — a very futile endeavor as you can imagine. My 
views are changing in respect to remaining in his father's 
employ. The grasping old man would monopolize every 
thing. I believe he would impoverish the entire South if 


he could, and I don't feel like remaining a part of his 
infernal business-machine." 

" I don't wonder you feel so ! " exclaimed Mara warmly. 
" I don't like to think of your being there at all." 

"That settles it then," said Bodine quietly. " It would 
not be wise or honorable for me to act hastily. I must give 
Mr. Houghton proper notification, but I shall at once begin 
to seek other employment." 

Mara was embarrassed and pained by such large defer- 
ence to her views, and her spirits grew more and more 
depressed with the conviction that Clancy was right. But 
she had been given time to think, and soon believed that 
her best, her only course, was to ignore that phase of the 
captain's regard, and to teach him, with a delicacy equal 
to his own, that it could never be accepted. 

" Moreover," resumed Bodine, " apart from my duty to 
Mr. Houghton, — and I must be more scrupulous towards 
him than if he were my best friend, — I owe it to Ella and 
my cousin not to give up the means of support, if I can 
honorably help it, until I secure something else. Houghton 
has held to our agreement both in spirit and letter, and I 
cannot complain of him as far as I am concerned." 

" I have confidence in your judgment, captain, and I 
know you will always be guided by the most delicate sense 
of honor." 

" I hope so, Mara ; I shall try to be, but with the best 
endeavor we often make mistakes. To tell the truth I am 
more anxious about Ella than myself. This young Hough- 
ton is, I fear, a rather hair-brained fellow. I've no doubt 
that he is sincere and well-meaning enough as rich and 
indulged young men of his class go, but he appears to me 
to be impetuous, and inclined to be reckless in carrying out 
his own wishes. Ella, in her inexperience, has formed far 
too good an opinion of him." 


" Well, captain, I wouldn't worry about it. Ella is hon- 
est as the sunshine. They have scarcely more than met, 
and she will be guided by you. This episode will soon be 

"Yes, I hope so; I think so. I shall count on your 
influence, for she loves you dearly." 

" I know," was the rather sad reply, " but Ella does not 
think and feel as I do. I wish she could become interested 
in some genuine Southern man." 

" That will come in time, all too soon for me, I fear," he 
said, with a sigh, " but I must accept the fact that my litde 
bird is fledged, and may soon take flight. It will be a lonely 
life when she is gone," 

" She may not go far," Mara answered gently, " and she 
may enrich you with a son, instead of depriving you of a 

He shook his head despondently, and soon afterwards 
accompanied her to her home. She knew there was some- 
thing like an appeal to her in his eyes as he pressed her 
hand warmly in parting. By simply disturbing the blind 
confidence in which she had accepted and loved her father's 
friend, Clancy had given her sight. She saw the veteran in 
a new character, and she was distressed and perplexed 
beyond measure. Scarcely able, yet compelled to believe 
the truth, she asked herself all the long night, " How can 
I bear this new trouble ? " 



"heaven speed you then." 

A UN' SHEBA and Vilet entered at the usual hour the 
following day. The girls smiled and nodded in an 
absent sort of way, and then the old woman thought they 
seemed to forget all about her. She also observed that 
they were not so forward with the work as customary ; and 
she watched them wonderingly yet shrewdly. Suddenly she 
sprung up, exclaiming, " Lor bress you. Missy Ella, dat de 
secon' time you put aw-spice in dat ar dough." 

Both the girls started nervously, and Ella began to laugh. 

" Missy Mara, you fergits some cake in de oben from de 
way it smell," and Aun' Sheba drew out cookies as black as 
herself instead of a delicate brown. 

Mara looked at them ruefully, and then said, " I must 
make some more, that's all." 

"Wot's de matter wid you bofe, honeys? " the old woman 
asked kindly. 

" Politics," Ella blurted out. 

" Polytics ! No won'er you'se bofe off de handle. Dere's 
been ony two times wen I couldn't stan' Unc. nohow. De 
fust an' wust was wen he get polytics on de brain, an' belebed 
dat ole guv'ner Moses was gwine ter lead de culud people to 
a promis' Ian'. I alus tole him dat his Moses 'ud lead him 
into a ditch, an' so he did. De secon' time was wen he got 
sot on, but you knows all 'bout dat. You'se bofe too deep 
fer me. How you git into polytics I doan see nohow." 


"There, Aun' Sheba, don't you mind Ella's nonsense. 
We're no more into politics than you are." 

" You'se inter sump'in den." 

"Yes," said Ella, "we're still carrying on the war." 

" Please don't talk so, Ella." 

" O Mara ! I must have my nonsense. You've got the 
' storied past ' — that's how it's phrased, isn't it ? — to sustain 
you, and I've only my nonsense." 

" Well, puttin' in aw-spice double is nonsense, shuah nuff," 
said Aun' Sheba, looking at the girl keenly. " Wot you want 
spicin' so far all't once. Missy Ella? You peart, an' saucy as 
eber. I ony wish I could see Missy Mara lookm' like you." 

" You are getting old and blind, Aun' Sheba. I have a 
secret sorrow gnawing at my 'inards,' as you term those 
organs which keep people awake o' nights, gazing at the 

" Yes, honey, Aun' Sheba gittin' bery ole an' bery blin', 
but she see dat dere's sump'in out ob kilter wid de inards 
ob you bofe. Well, well, I s'pose it's none ob de ole 
woman's business." 

" Aun' Sheba," cried Ella, with an exaggerated sigh, " if 
you could mend matters I'd come to you quicker than to 
any one else, you dear old soul ! Well now, to tell you the 
honest truth, there isn't very much the matter with me, and 
there's a certain doctor that's going to cure me just as sure 
as this batter (holding up a spoonful) is going to be cake in 
ten minutes." 

"Who dat?" 

" Doctor Time — oh, get out ! " At this instant an irate 
bumble-bee darted in, and, Ella, in a spasmodic effort of 
self-defence, threw the spoon at it, and both went flying out 
of the window. The girl sat down half-crying, half-laughing 
in her vexation, while Aun' Sheba shook with mirth in all 
her ample proportions. 


" Dat ar cake's gwine to be dough for eber mo', Missy 
Ella," she said. " I'se feerd you'se case am bery serus. 
Yit I worries mo' 'bout Missy Mara. Heah now, honey, 
you jes dun beat out. You sit down an' Missy Ella an' me'll 
finish up in a jiffy. I reckon Missy Ella ony got a leetle 
tantrum dis mawnin, but you'se been a wuckin' an' tinkin' 
too hard dis long time." 

" Yes, Aun' Sheba," cried Ella, " that's the trouble. Let's 
you and I take the business out of her hands for a time, and 
make her a silent partner." 

"She too silent now. Bofe ob you gittin' ter be silent 
par'ners. In de good ole times I'd heah you chatterin' as I 
come up de stars, an' to-day you was bofe right smart ways 
off from dis kitchen in you mins. Mum, mum, tinkin' deep, 
bofe ob you. Eysters ud make a racket long ob you uns 
dis mawnin'." 

"There, Aun' Sheba," said Mara, kindly, "don't you 
Avorry about us. This is July, and in August we'll take a 
rest. You deserve and need it as much as either of us. 
I'll get well and strong then, and you know it makes people 
worse to tell them they don't look well and all that." 

Aun' Sheba gave a sort of dissatisfied grunt, but she 
helped the girls through with their tasks in her own deft 
way, and departed with Vilet, who was always very quiet 
and shy except when at home. 

" Well," said Ella, giving herself a little shake, when they 
were alone, " I'm going to get over my nonsense at once." 

"What's troubhng you, Ella? " 

" Oh, I hardly know myself. What's troubling you ? We 
both seem out of sorts. Do let us be sensible and jolly. 
Now if we both had a raging toothache we'd have some 
excuse for melancholy. Good-by, dear, I'll be up with the 
lark to-morrow, and we'll make a lark of our work ; " and 
she started homeward, with her cherry lips sternly com- 


pressed in her resolution to be her old mirthful self. In the 
energy of her purpose she began to walk faster and faster. 
"■ There now, Ella Bodine," she muttered, " since it's your 
duty to ostracize and bake, ostracize and bake, and be done 
with your ridiculous fancies." And she swiftly turned the 
corner of a street, as if, under the inspiration of a great 
purpose, she was entering upon a new and wiser course. 
The result was, she nearly ran over George Houghton. 
Looking up, she saw him standing, hat in hand, with a 
broad, glad smile on his face. 

" You almost equal that express-wagon," he said. " Are 
you going for the doctor? " 

Her mouth twitched nervously, but she managed to say, 
" Good-morning, Mr. Houghton, I'm in haste," and on she 
went. He saw her head go down. Was she laughing or 
crying? The latter possibility brought him to her side 

"Are you in trouble?" he asked very kindly. "Isn't 
there something — oh, I see you are laughing at me," and 
his tones proved that his feelings were deeply hurt. 

Her mirth ceased at once. " No, Mr. Houghton," she 
replied, looking up at him with frank directness, " I was not 
laughing dXyou, but I could not help laughing at what you 
said. I'm in no trouble, nor shall I be if — if — well, you 
know what I told you. We must be strangers, you know," 
and she went on again as if her feet were winged. 

" I don't know any thing of the kind," he muttered, as 
he turned on his heel and slowly pursued his way to his 
father's counting-rooms. Entering he paused an instant and 
looked grimly at Bodine, whose head was bent over his 
writing. " I'll tackle you next, old gentleman," was his 

Punctually to a minute he called on Mrs. Willoughby 
when the week had expired. She looked into his resolute 


face and surmised before he spoke that time and reflection 
had not inchned him to a prudent withdrawal from a very 
doubtlul suit. Nevertheless she said, " Well, you've had a 
little time to think, and you probably see now that your 
wisest course will be to give up this httle affair utterly." 

" Pardon me, Mrs, Willoughby, I've had an age in which 
to think, and it's not a httle affair to me. I did not quite 
understand myself when I last saw you — it was all so new, 
strange, and heavenly. But I understand myself now. 
Ella Bodine shall be my wife unless she finally rejects me, 
unless she herself makes me sure that it's of no use to try. 
What's more, it will take years to prove this. As long as 
she does not belong to another I'll never give up." 

" She belongs to her father." 

" No, not in this sense. She has the right of every 
American girl to choose her husband." 

" Do you mean to defy her father?" 

" No, I mean to go to him like a gentleman, and ask per- 
mission to pay my addresses to his daughter. I mean to do 
this before I say one word of love to her." 

" Since you are so resolved upon your course you do not 
need any more advice from me." 

" I don't mean that at all. Isn't this the right, honorable 

" Oh, your royalty wishes me to applaud your decrees 
and decisions," she said laughing. 

"Now please don't be hard on me, Mrs. Willoughby. 
I've followed your advice with all my might for a week." 

"Done nothing with all your might?" 

" Yes, and you couldn't have given me a harder task." 

" Are you of age ? " 

" Yes, I am. I'm twenty-two, however immature I may 
seem to you." 

" Miss Bodine is not of age." 


"Well, I'll wait till she is." 

"Wouldn't that be better? Wait till she is of age, and 
more capable of judging and acting for herself. Time may 
soften her father's feelings, and your father's also, for, believe 
me, you are going to have as much trouble at home as with 
Captain Bodine, that is, supposing that Ella would listen to 
your suit." 

" And while I'm idly biting my nails through the creeping 
years some level-headed Southerner will quiedy woo and 
win her. I would deserve to lose her, should I take such 
a course." 

" You certainly would have to take that risk ; but perhaps 
you will incur greater risks by too hasty action." 

" Be sincere with me now, Mrs. Willoughby. I don't 
believe you women like timid, pusillanimous men. How 
could I appear otherwise to Miss Bodine if I should with- 
draw, like a growling bear into winter quarters, there to 
hibernate indefinitely? The period wouldn't be life to me, 
scarcely tolerable existence. What could she know about 
my motives and feelings ? I tell you my love is as sacred 
as my faith in God. I'm proud of it, rather than ashamed. 
I wish her to know it, no matter what the result may be, 
and I don't care if all the world knows it, too." 

"You mean to tell your father then ? " 

" Certainly, at the proper time." 

" Suppose you find him utterly opposed to it all ? " 

" I do not think I shall ; not when he sees my happiness 
is at stake. He may fume over it for a time, but when he 
comes to know Ella she'll disarm him. Why, it's just as 
clear to me as that I see you, that she could make the old 
gentleman happier than he has been for over a quarter of 
a century." 

" My poor young friend ! I wish I could share in your 
sanguine feelings." 


"Oh, I'm not so very sanguine about her, ^Vhat she 
will do worries me far more than what the old people will 

" Well, you are right there. The old people are the out- 
works, she the citadel, which you can never capture unless 
she chooses to surrender." 

" That's true, but I don't believe she ever would surrender 
to a man who was afraid to approach even the outworks." 

Mrs. Willoughby laughed softly as she admitted, " Perhaps 
you are right." 

" If I'm not, my whole manhood is at fault," he replied 
earnestly. " Please tell me, haven't I decided on the right, 
honorable course, — on what would seem honorable to Cap- 
tain Bodine and to Ella also?" 

"Yes, if you w///act now you can take no other." 

"Well, won't you please approve of it?" 

" Mr. Houghton, I'm not going to be timid and pusillani- 
mous either. Since you are of age, and will take a perfectly 
honorable course, I will stand by you as a friend. I will still 
counsel you, if you so wish, for I fear that your troubles have 
only begun." 

" I thank you from my heart," he said, seizing her hand 
and pressing it warmly. " I do need and wish your counsel, 
for I have very little tact. I can sail a boat better than I 
can manage an affair like this." 

" Will you make me one solemn promise ? " 

" Yes, if I can." 

" Then pledge me your word that you will not lose your 
temper with either Captain Bodine or .your father." 

" Oh, I think I can easily do that," he said good-humor- 

" You don't know, you can't imagine, how you may be 

" Well, it's a sensible thing you ask, and I've sense enough 


to know it. I pledge you my word. If I break it, it will be 
because I'm pushed beyond mortal endurance." 

" Mr. Houghton," she said, almost sternly, " you must not 
break it, no matter what is said or what happens. You would 
jeopardize every thing if you did. You might lose Ella's 

He drew a long breath. " You make me feel as if I were 
going into a very doubtful battle," he said thoughtfully. 

" It is a very doubtful batde. It certainly will be a hard, 
and probably a long one, and you will lose it if you don't 
keep cool." 

" I can be very firm, I suppose." 

" Yes, as firm and decided as you please, as long as you 
are quiet and gentlemanly in your words. Let me say one 
thing more," she added, very gravely. " If you enter on 
this affair, and then, in any kind of weakness or fickleness, 
give it up, I shall despise you, and so will all in this city 
who know about it. Count the cost. I'm too true a South- 
erner to look at you again if you trifle with a Southern girl. 
Your father will offer you great inducements to abandon this 
folly, as he will term it." 

He flushed deeply, but only said, in quiet emphasis, " If 
I ever give up, except for reasons satisfactory to you, I shall 
despise myself far more than you can despise me." 

"And you give me your word that you will keep your 
temper to the very end? " 

" Yes, Heaven helping me, I will." 

" Heaven speed you then, my friend." 




"\ /"OUNG Houghton was like a high-mettled steed, from 
JL which the curb had been removed. His temperament, 
even more than the impatience of youth, led him to chafe 
at delay, and Ella appeared so lovely, so exactly to his mind, 
that he had a nervous dread lest others should equally ap- 
preciate her, and forestall his effort to secure her affection. 
He resolved, therefore, that not an hour should be lost, and 
so went directly back to his father's counting-rooms. 

Bodine was writing as usual at his desk, and Houghton 
looked at him with an apprehension thus far unknown in his 
experience. But he did not hesitate. " Captain Bodine," 
he said, with a little nervous tremor in his voice, " will you 
be so kind as to grant me a private interview this evening?" 

The veteran looked at him coldly as he asked, " May I 
inquire, sir, your object in seeking this interview? " 

" I will explain fully when we are alone. I cannot here, 
but will merely say that my motives are honorable, as you 
yourself will admit." 

Bodine contracted his brows in painful thought for a 
moment. " I may as well have it out with him at once," 
was his conclusion. " Very well, sir, I will remain after the 
office is closed," he said frigidly, then turned to his writing. 

George went to his desk in his father's private room, and 
there was a very grim, set look on his face also. " I under- 
stand you, my future father-in-law," he murmured softly. 


*' You think you are going to end this affair in lialf an hour. 
We'll see." 

The afternoon was very warm, and his father said kindly, 
*' Come George, knock off for to-day. I'm going home and 
shall try to get a nap before dinner." 

" That's right, father ; do so by all means. I have an 
engagement this evening, so please don't wait dinner for 
me." His thought was, " If I'm to keep my temper I can't 
tackle more than one the same day ; yet I don't believe my 
father will be obdurate. If I succeed, the time will come 
when he'll thank me with all his heart." 

Mr. Houghton had no disposition to control his son in 
small matters, and the young fellow came and went at his 
own will. Thus far his frankness and general good behavior 
had inspired confidence. His tastes had always inclined to 
athletic, manly sports, and these are usually at variance with 
dissipation of every kind. 

The impatient youth had not long to wait. The clerks 
soon departed, and the colored janitor entered on his labors. 
Bodine remained writing quietly until George came and 
said, '"Will you be so kind as to come to the private 
office ? " 

The veteran deliberately put his desk in order, and fol- 
lowed the young man without a word. There was still an 
abundance of light in which to see each other's faces, and 
George observed that Bodine's expression boded ill. He 
took a seat in silence, and looked at the flushed face of the 
youth coldly and impassively. 

" Captain Bodine," George began hesitatingly, " you can 
make this interview very hard for me, and I fear you will do 
so. Yet you are a gentleman, and I wish to act and speak 
as becomes one also." 

Bodine merely bowed slighdy. 

" I will use no circumlocution. You have been a soldier, 


and so will naturally prefer directness. I wish your permis- 
sion to pay my addresses to your daughter." 

" I cannot grant it." 

*' Please do not make so hasty a decision, sir. I fear that 
you are greatly prejudiced against me, but " — 

" No, sir," interrupted Bodine, " I am not prejudiced 
against you at all. I have my own personal reasons for 
taking the ground I do, and it is not necessary to discuss 
them. I think our interview may as well end at once." 

" Captain Bodine, you will admit that I have acted honor- 
ably in this matter. Since your daughter told me that you 
were averse to our acquaintance, I have made no effort to 
see her." 

" Certainly, sir, that was right and honorable. Any other 
course would not have been so." 

" It is my purpose to maintain a strictly honorable and 
straightforward course in this suit." 

" Do you mean to say that you will pursue this suit con- 
trary to my wishes ? " 

*' Certainly. There is no law, human or divine, which 
forbids a man from loving a good woman, and Miss Bodine 
is good if any one is." 

" How do you propose to carry on this suit? " the captain 
asked sternly. 

" I scarcely know yet, but in no underhand way. I must 
ask you to infonn Miss Bodine of this interview." 

"Suppose I decline to do this?" 

"Then I shall make it known to her m}^elf." 

" In other words, you defy me." 

" Not at all, not in die sense in which you speak. I shall 
take no action whatever without your knowledge." 

"You must remember that my daughter is not of age." 

" I do not dispute your right in the least to control her 
action till she is, but I shall not take the risk of losing her 


by timidity and delay. Others will appreciate her worth as 
well as myself. I wish her to know that I love her, and 
would make her my wife." 

" You appear to think that this is all that is essential so 
far as she is concerned, ' said Bodine, in bitter sarcasm. 

" You do me wrong, sir," Houghton replied, flushing 
hotly. " Even if you should give your full consent, I, better 
than any one, know that my suit would be doubtful. But it 
would be hopeless did I not reveal to her my feelings and 

" If she herself, then, informs you that it is hopeless, 
that would end the matter?" 

" Certainly, after years of patient effort to induce her to 
think otherwise." 

" I do not think you have shown any patience thus far, 
sir. You have scarcely more than met her before you enter, 
recklessly and selfishly, on a * suit,' as you term it, which can 
only bring wretchedness to her and to those who have the 
natural right to her allegiance and love." 

"You do me wrong again, Captain Bodine. I am no more 
reckless or selfish than any other man who would marry the 
girl he loves. By reason of circumstances over which I had 
no control I have met Miss Bodine, and she has inspired 
a sacred love, such as her mother inspired in you. You 
can find no serious fault with me personally, and I am not 
responsible for others. I have my own hfe to make or mar, 
and never to win Miss Bodine would mar it wofully. I am 
an educated man and her equal socially, although she is 
greatly my superior in other respects. I have the means 
with which to support her in affiuence. I mean only good 
towards her and you. This is neither selfishness nor reck- 

"Have you spoken to Mr. Houghton of your intentions?" 

" Not yet, but I shall." 


" You will find him as bitterly opposed to it all as I am." 

" I think not. I shall be sorry beyond measure if you 
are right, but it can make no difference." 

"You will defy him also, then?" 

"I object to the use of that word, Captain Bodine. In 
availing myself of my inalienable rights I defy no one." 

" Have I no rights in my own child ? Your purpose is to 
rob me as ruthlessly as our homes were desolated years 

" I am not responsible for the past, any more than I am 
for your prejudices against me. ISIy purpose is simple and 
honorable, as much so as that of any other man who may 
ask you for your daughter's hand." 

"Mr. Houghton," said Bodine rising, "there is no use in 
prolonging this painful and intensely disagreeable interview. 
I said to your father in this office that our relations could 
be only those of business. Even these shall soon cease. 
I now understand you, sir. Of course the past is nothing 
to you, and you are bent on obtaining what you imagine 
you wish at the present moment, without any regard to 
others. Let me tell you once for all there can be no alli- 
ance between your house and mine. I would as soon bury 
my daughter as see her married to you. I do find fault with 
you personally. You are headlong and inconsiderate. You 
would lay your hands on the best you can find in the South 
just as your armies and politicians have done. But you pro- 
ceed further at your peril — do you comprehend me ? — at 
your peril," and the veteran's eyes gleamed fiercely. 

" Captain Bodine," said George, also rising, " you cannot 
make me lose my temper. I shall give you no just reason 
for saying that I am headlong. I wish you could be more 
calm and fair yourself. Before we part one point must be 
settled. My request must be met in one way or the other. 
If you will give me your word that you will repeat the pur- 

consternation: 255 

port of what I have said to Miss Bodine, I will make no 
effort to do so myself. However hostile you may be to me 
I know that you are a man of honor, and I will trust you. 
I merely wish Miss Bodine to know that I love her and am 
willing to wait for her till I am gray." 

" You wish me to tell her that you Avill wait and pray for 
my death, and seek to lead her to do likewise," was the 
angry reply. 

" It is useless for me to protest against your unjust and 
bitter words. The trust that I offer to repose in you entitles 
me to better courtesy." 

By a great effort Bodine regained self-control, and bal- 
anced himself for a few moments on his crutches in deep 
thought. At last he said, " I accept the trust, and will be 
as fair to you as it is possible for an outraged father to 
be. I forbid that you should have any communication with 
my daughter whatever, and I shall forbid her to receive any 
from you. What is more, you must take her answer as 

"I promise only this. Captain Bodine, that I shall take 
no action without your knowledge. I shall trust you im- 
plicidy in repeating the purport of this interview. The 
moment that I looked into your face I recognized that you 
were a gentleman, and I again apologize for my rude 
remark before I knew who you were. Good-evening, sir." 

Bodine bowed stiffly, and departed with many conflicting 
emotions surging in his breast, none of them agreeable. 
He scarcely knew whether he had acted wisely or not. 
Indeed, the impression grew upon him that he had been 
worsted in the encounter, that George, in making him his 
messenger to Ella, had acted with singular astuteness. This 
was true, but the young man's action was not the result of 
the Yankee shrewdness with which the veteran was disposed 
to credit him. A simple, straightforward course is usually 


the wisest one, and George instinctively knew that Ella 
would appreciate such openness on his part. He was left 
in a very anxious and perturbed condition, it is true, but in 
his heart he again thanked Mrs. Willoughby for putting him 
so sacredly on his guard against his hasty temper. 

Absorbed in thought, he sat till the gloom of night gath- 
ered in the office ; then the shuffling feet of the impatient 
janitor aroused him. 

Solacing the old man with a dollar, he went out hastily, 
and walked a mile or two to work off his nervous excite- 
ment, then sought a restaurant, muttering, " I haven't reached 
the point of losing my appetite yet," 

By the time Bodine reached home he was much calmer, 
and disposed to take a much more hopeful view of the 

He again concluded that after all it was best that he 
should be the one to inform Ella, and thus keep the matter 
entirely within his own hands. Believing her to be as yet 
untouched by any thing that Houghton might have said 
to her, he felt quite sure that he could readily induce her to 
take the same attitude towards the objectionable suitor 
which he proposed to maintain to the end. 

He found her and his cousin very anxious about his late 
return, — an anxiety not allayed by his grim, stern expression. 

" I have been detained by an unpleasant interview," he 

" With that old " — 

" No, not with Mr. Houghton, I will explain after 

With the swiftness of light, Ella surmised the truth, and 
made but a very indifferent repast. Her father noted this, 
and asked himself, "Could she have knomi of his pur- 
pose?" Then he reproached himself inwardly for enter- 
taining the thought. 


The meal was comparatively a silent one, and soon over ; 
then they all went to Mrs. Bodine's room. 

" I wish you to be present, Cousin Sophy," said the cap- 
tain, " for I have a very disagreeable task to perform, and I 
can scarcely trust myself to do it fairly. You must prompt 
me if you think I do not. Ella, my dear and only child, I 
trust that you will receive the message, which, in a sense, 
I have been compelled to bring you, in the right spirit. I 
feel sure that you will do so, and that your course now and 
hereafter will continue to give me that same deep, glad 
peace at heart which your fidehty to duty and your devotion 
to me have always inspired. You have my happiness now 
in your hands as never before ; but I do not fear that you 
will fail me. The son of the man whom we all detest, and 
whose employ I shall leave presently, has asked permission 
to pay you his addresses." 

She turned pale as he spoke so gravely, and trembled 

"Why do you tell me this, papa?" she faltered. "I 
would rather not have known it." 

" Because he requested me to tell you. Because he^^aid 
he wished you to know that he loved you, and that if I aid 
not tell you he would himself; " and he looked at her keenly. 

"Then," cried Ella impetuously, "although I may never 
speak to him again, I say he has acted honorably. I told 
you that he was incapable of any thing clandestine." 

" I trust that you never will speak to him again," said her 
father, almost sternly. " I have forbidden him to have any 
communication with you, and I certainly forbid your speak- 
ing with him again." 

" Father," said Ella gently, with tears in her eyes, " I do 
not deserve that you should speak to me in that tone. I've 
always tried to obey you." 

" Forgive me, Ella, but I have been intensely annoyed by 


the interview inflicted upon me, and I cannot think of it, or 
of his preposterous course, with patience. Moreover, par- 
don me for saying it, you have shown a friendly interest in 
him which it has been very painful to note." 

" I've only tried to be fair to him, papa." 

" Please try merely to forget him, Ella, — to think nothing 
about him whatever." 

" I shall try to obey you, papa ; but you are too old and 
wise to tell me not to think. As well tell me not to breathe." 

"Ella," began her father sternly, " can you mean" — 

"Now, Hugh," interrupted his cousin, "be careful you 
don't do more mischief than young Houghton can possibly 
aocomplish. How men do bungle in these matters ! Hough- 
ton hasn't bungled, though. His making you his messenger 
strikes me as the shrewdest Yankee trick I ever heard of." 

" I had the same impression on my way home," admitted 
Bodine, irritably. 

Ella felt that she owed no such deference to Mrs. Bodine 
as she did to her father, and, with an ominous flash in her 
eyes, said decidedly, "You are bungling. Cousin Sophy. 
George Houghton is incapable of what you term a Yankee 
trick. I will be pliant under all motives of love and duty to 
my father, but you must not outrage my sense of justice. 
You must remember that I have a conscience, as truly as 
you- have." 

" There, forgive me, Ella. You've seen the young fellow, 
and I haven't. Cousin Hugh, remember that Ella has your 
spirit, and the spirit of her ancestors. Show her what is 
right and best, and she will do it." 

Bodine looked at his daughter in deep perturbation. 
Could that flushed, beautiful" woman be his little Ella? 
With an indescribable pang he began to recognize that she 
was becoming a woman, with an independent life of her 
own. The greatness of the emergency calmed him, as all 


strong minds are quieted by great and impending danger. 
" Ella," he said, gently and sadly, " I do not wish to treat 
you as a litde, foolish girl, but as becomes your years. I 
wish your conscience and reason to go with mine. You 
know that your happiness is the chief desire of my life. 
There could be no happiness for either of us in such a 
misalliance. The father of this hasty youth will be as bit- 
terly opposed to it all as I am. We belong to different camps, 
and can never have any thing in common. You know my 
motive in taking employment from him. I have thought 
better of it, and shall now leave his office as soon as I can 
honorably. I don't wish to outrage your sense of justice, 
Ella, and I will mention one other essential point in the 
interview. I told young Houghton that he must accept 
your answer as final, and that he would proceed further at 
his peril, and he said he would only take a final answer from 
you after years of patient waiting and wooing. How he pro- 
poses to do the latter I do not know, nor does he know him- 
self. He did say, however, that he would take no action 
without my knowledge. You see that I am trying to be just 
to him." 

" I would like to ask one question, papa. Did he use 
any angry, disrespectful language towards you? " 

Bodine winced under this question, but said plainly, " No, 
he did not. He apologized for the third time for a hasty 
remark he once made before he knew who I was. He said 
that he recognized that I was a gentleman then, and that he 
would trust me as such to deliver his message." 

The girl drew a long breath as if a deep cause for anxiety 
had been removed. 

" Oh, come now. Cousin Hugh, you and Ella are taking 
this matter too much to heart. Why, Lor bless you ! I had 
nearly a dozen offers by the time I was Ella's age. There 
is nothing tragic about this young fellow or his proceedings. 


Indeed, I think with Ella, that he has done remarkably well, 
wonderfully well, considering. Nine out of ten of his kind 
wouldn't be so scrupulous. He has done neither you not 
Ella any wrong, only paid you the highest compliment in his 
power. Regard it as such, and let the matter end there. 
He can't marry Ella out of hand any more than he can me." 

At this the girl, seeing inevitably the comic side of every 
thing, burst into a laugh. " Cousin Sophy," she cried, " you 
surpass Solomon himself. Come, dear papa, let us try to be 
sensible. Of course Mr. Houghton can't marry me without 
your consent or mine." 

" Then I may tell him that you will never give your con- 
sent, — that what he terms his suit must end at once and 
forever? " 

She again became very pale, and did not answer imme- 

" Ella, my only child, the hope and solace of my life, can 
you hesitate ? " 

With a rush of tears, she threw herself upon his neck, and 
sobbed, " Tell him that I will never do any thing without 
your consent." Then she fled to her own room. 

The captain and Mrs. Bodine sat looking at each other 
in consternation. 



ON his return home George found his father reading 
such of the Boston papers as most nearly reflected his 
own views, and in which he had lost none of his early 
interest. He had always looked upon himself somewhat in 
the light of an exile, and it had been his purpose to return 
to his native State ; but as time passed, a dread of its harsh 
climate had begun to reconcile him to the thought of 
ending his days in Charleston. All morbid tendencies 
strengthen, if indulged. The desire, therefore, to remain 
near the watery grave of his eldest son increased. Allied 
to this motive was the pleasure of accumulating jnoney, the 
excitement of business, and exultation over the fact that he 
was taking tens of thousands from his enemies. As far as 
possible he invested his capital at the North. The people 
among whom he dwelt knew this, knew that, unhke Mr. 
Ainsley, he was doing as little as possible to build up the 
section from which he was drawing his wealth. 

George, as yet, had not been inducted into the spirit or 
•knowledge of his father's business methods, for the old man 
had believed that the time for this had not come. More- 
over, as the merchant became better acquainted with the 
maturer character of his son, he became convinced that 
George would not, indeed could not, carry on the business 
as he had. There was a large, tolerant good nature about 
the youth which would render it impossible for him to deal 


with any one in his father's spirit. He had not known his 
elder brother, and was merely proud of his record as that 
of a brave soldier who had died in the performance of duty. 
George was like many of the combatants, both Union and 
Confederate, capable of fighting each other to the death 
during the war, but ready to shake hands after the battle 
was over. 

No one understood this disposition better than Mr. 
Houghton, and he felt that the South was no place for 
George. He wished his son to go back to Massachusetts, 
where wealth and influence would open the way for a brilliant 
career; and the old man already saw in imagination his 
name famous in the old Commonwealth. 

He had been thinking over this scheme on the present 
evening, and his mind was full of it when George entered. 
" Glad to see you so early," he said genially. " Had a good 
dinner? Yes ; well then sit down awhile, for I wish to talk 
to you. I've had a good nap, and so won't need to go to 
bed very early. Well, my boy, you've reached that age 
when you should take your bearings for your future career." 

" Why, father, I've always expected to go into business 
with you, and gradually relieve you of its burdens and 

" No, George, that wouldn't be best ; that wouldn't suit 
me at all. You are fitted for something better and larger. 
You wouldn't carry on the business as I do, and that would 
lead to differences between us. I couldn't stand that. The 
iron entered into my soul before you were born. Your 
brother had equal promise with yourself, and, to put it \-ery 
mildly, I have no love for those who destroyed him. I do 
business with them, but in much the same spirit that 
Antonio dealt with the Jew on the Rialto. You would not 
do this, nor could I expect you to. The accursed crime 
of rebelUon has not smitten your soul as with lightning, nor 



broken your heart. The young fall into the ways of those 
with whom they live, and I wish you to have as little to 
do with this Southern people as possible. There is no 
career for you in this city, but in your native State you can 
become almost what you please. If, for instance, with your 
splendid health you entered upon the study of law and 
mastered it, I have influence and wealth enough to advance 
you rapidly, until by your own grip you can climb to the 
top of the ladder. You can then eventually marry into one 
of the best families in the State, and thus at the same time 
secure happiness and double your chances of success." 

George listened aghast as his father proceeded compla- 
cently, and with a touch of enthusiasm rarely indulged. He 
was sitting by an open window, at some distance from Mr. 
Houghton, the darkness concealing his face. He now 
began to reahze the truth of Mrs. Willoughby's belief and 
Bodine's conviction, that he might find as much trouble at 
home as elsewhere. It quickly became clear to him that 
he must reveal the truth at once, but how to set about it he 
scarcely knew, and he hesitated like one on the brink of icy 
water. What he considered a bright thought struck him, 
and he said, " Speaking of marrying, you never told me how 
you came to marry mother." 

" Oh ! " repUed the old man dreamily, " I was almost 
brought up to marry her. She was the daughter of a near 
neighbor and dear friend of my father's. Your mother and 
I played together as children. I scarcely think we knew 
when our mutual affection changed into love — it all came 
about so gradually and naturally — and the union gave the 
deepest satisfaction to both famihes. Ah ! George, George, 
your brother's death shortened the life of your mother, and 
left me very sad and lonely. I can never forgive this peo- 
ple for the irreparable injuries they have done to me and 
mine. I know you cannot feel as I do ; but love of country 


and your affection for me should lead you to stand aloof 
from those who are still animated by the old, diabolical 
spirit which caused the death of such brave fellows as your 
brother, and broke the hearts of such women as your 

His son's distress was so deep that he buried his face in 
his hands. 

" I don't wonder that your feelings are touched by my 
reminiscences, George," and the old man wiped tears from 
his own eyes. 

" O father ! " cried the son, springing up, and placing his 
hand on the old man's shoulder, " I'm going to test your 
love for me severely. You are right in saying I cannot feel 
as you do. I did not know that you felt so strongly. I've 
given my love to a Southern girl." 

Moments of oppressive silence followed this announce- 
ment, and the old man's face grew stern and rigid. 

" Father, listen patiently," George began. " She is not to 
blame for the past, nor am I. If you only knew how good 
and noble and lovely she is " — 

" Who is she ? What is her name ? " 

" Ella Bodine." 

" What ! A relative of that double-dyed rebel in my 

"His daughter." 

" George Houghton ! " and his father sprung up, and 
confronted his son with a visage distorted by anger. Never 
had the youth called forth a look like that, and he trembled 
before the passion he had evoked. 

" Father," he said entreatingly, " sit down. Do not look 
at me so, do not speak to me till you are calm. Remember 
I am your son." 

The old man paced the room for a few moments in strong 
agitation, for he had been wounded at his most vulnerable 


point. The thought that his only son would ally himself 
with those whom he so detested, and whom for years he had 
sought to punish, almost maddened him. As we have seen 
before, there was a slumbering volcano in this old man's 
breast when adequate causes called it into action, and now 
the deepest and strongest forces of his nature were awak- 

At last he said in a constrained voice, " I hope you also 
will remember that I am your father. It would appear that 
you had forgotten the fact, when you made love to one 
whom I never can call daughter." 

" I have not made love to her yet. You " — 
" Has she been making love to you then ? " 
" Father, please don't speak in that way. There never 
were harsh words between us before, and there must not be 

Again the dreadful silence fell between them, but it was 
evident that Mr. Houghton was making a great effort for 

" You are right, George," he said at last. " I have never 
spoken to you before as I have to-night, and, 1 hope to God, 
I may never have cause to do so again. I have not been a 
harsh father, nor have I inflicted my unhappiness on you. 
I have given you large liberty, the best education that you 
would take, and ample means with which to enjoy yourself. 
I had expected that in return you would consult my wishes 
in some vital matters, — as vital to your happiness as mine. 
I never dreamed that such incredible folly as you have men- 
tioned was possible. Your very birthright precluded the 
idea. You said that you would have to test my love se- 
verely. I shall not only have to test your love, but also 
your reason, your common-sense, almost your sanity. What 
is thought of a man who throws away every thing for a 
pretty face?" 


" That I shall never do, father. The beauty in Ella 
Bodine's face is but the reflex of her character." 

"That's what every enamoured fool has said from the 
beginning of time," replied Mr. Houghton, in strong irrita- 
tion, "What chance have you had to learn her character? 
I know more about the girl and her connections than you 
do. She works with that Wallingford girl, and that old fire- 
eater, Mrs. Hunter, in the baking trade. She lives with her 
cousin old Mrs, Bodine, who thinks of little else than what 
she is pleased to consider her blue blood, forgetting that it 
is not good, loyal, American blood. This little patch of a 
State is more to her than the Union bequeathed to us by our 
fathers. As to Bodine himself, if the South rose again, he'd 
inarch away on his crutches with the rebellious army. Can 
you soberly expect to live among such a set of people? 
Can you expect me to fraternize with them, to stultify all 
my life, to trample on my most sacred convictions, to be 
disloyal to the memory of wife and son, who virtually per- 
ished by the action of just such traitors?" and he laughed 
in harsh, bitter protest, 

George sat down, again buried his face in his hands, and 
groaned aloud. 

"You may well groan, young man, when you face the 
truth which you have so strangely forgotten. But come, 
I'm not one to yield weakly to any such monstrous absurdity. 
You are young and strong, and should have a spirit equal to 
your stature and muscle. You have not made love to this 
girl, you say. Never do it. Steer as wide of her as you 
would of a whirlpool, and all will soon be well. I won't 
believe that a son of mine can be so wretchedly, miserably, 
and contemptibly weak as to throw himself away in this 

George was silent and ovenvhelmed. His father's words 
had opened an abyss at his feet. He loved the old man 


tenderly and gratefully, and, under his burning, scathing 
words, felt at the time that his course was black ingratitude. 
Even if he could face the awful estrangement which he saw 
must ensue, the thought of striking such a blow at his 
father's hopes, affection and confidence made him shudder 
in his very soul. It might be fatal even to a life already 
held in the feeble grasp -of age. He could not speak. 

At last Mr. Houghton resumed, very gravely, and yet not 
unkindly, " You are not the first one of your age who has 
been on the verge of an irreparable blunder. Thank God 
it is not too late for you to retreat ! Do not let this word 
jar upon you, for it often requires much higher courage 
and manhood to retreat than to advance. To do the latter 
in this case would be as foolhardy as it would be wrong and 
disastrous to all concerned. It would be as fatal to me as 
to you, for I could not long sur\-ive if I learned that I had 
been leaning on such a broken reed. It would be fatal to 
you, for I would not leave my money so you could enrich 
these people. You would have nothing in the world but 
the pretty face for which you sold your birthright. I will 
say no more now, George. You will wake in the morning 
a sane man, and my son. Good-night." 

"Good-night, father," George answered in a broken voice. 
Then, when ajone, he added bitterly, " Wake ! When shall 
I sleep again?" 

The eastern horizon was tinged with light before, ex- 
hausted by his fierce mental conflict, he sank into a respite 
of oblivion. For a long time he wavered, love for his 
father tugging at his heart with a restraining power far be- 
yond that of words which virtually were threats. " He 
could keep his money," the young fellow groaned, " if I 
could only keep his affection and confidence, if I could 
only be sure that I would not harm his life and health. I 
could be happy in working as a day-laborer for her." 


At last he came to a decision. He had given both his 
love and his word to Ella. She only could reject the one, 
and absolve him from the other. 

He was troubled to find that the forenoon had nearly- 
passed when he awoke. Dressing hastily, he went down to 
make inquiries for his father. 

" Marse Houghton went to de sto' at de us'l time," said 
the colored waiter. " He lef word not to 'sturb you, an' ter 
hab you'se breakfus' ready." 

George merely swallowed a cup of coffee, and then hast- 
ened down town. Meanwhile, events had occurred at the 
office which require attention. 

A very few moments after Mr. Houghton entered his pri- 
vate room he touched a bell. To the clerk who entered 
he said, "Take this letter to Mr. Bodine." 

The veteran's face was as rigid and stem with his purpose 
as the employer was grim in his resolves ; but when the 
captain read the curt note handed to him, his face grev/ dark 
with passion. It ran as follows : — 

" Mr. Bodine, — I have no further need of your services. 
Enclosed find check for your wages to the end of the 

The captain sat still a few moments to regain self-control 
then quietly put his desk in order. He nexfr halted to the 
private office, and the two men looked steadily and un- 
blenchingly into each other's eyes for a moment. Then the 
Southerner began sternly, " That hair-brained son of yours, 
has told you of the interview he forced upon me last night." 

"This is my private office, sir," replied Mr. Houghton, 
with equal sternness. " You have no right to enter it, or to 
use such language." 

" Yes, sir, I have the right. Were it not for the folly and 
presumption of your headlong boy, I would have left your 
employ quietly in a few days, and had nothing more to do 


with you or yours. To save my daughter annoyance from 
his silly sentimentality I was compelled to come into this 
hated place wherein you concoct your schemes to suck dry 
our Southern blood. He asked for permission to pay his 
addresses to my daughter, and I forbade it. I told him 
that he could only do so at his peril." 

"You are certainly right, sir. I also have told him that 
he would do so at his peril." 

" I also told him that I would rather bury my daughter 
than see her married to him," 

" Truly, sir, I never imagined we could agree so perfectly 
on any question," was Mr. Houghton's sarcastic reply. 
" Can we not now part with this clear understanding ? I 
have much to attend to this morning." 

" I have but one word more, and then trust I am through 
with his sentimentality and your insolence. Tell the boy 
that my daughter says she will have nothing to do with him 
without my consent. Now if there is even the trace of a 
gendeman in his anatomy he will leave us alone. Good- 
morning, sir." And tearing the check in two, he dropped 
it on the floor and halted away. 

Mr. Houghton coolly and contemptuously turned to his 
writing till the door closed on Bodine, and then he smiled 
and rubbed his hands in self-felicitation. "This is better 
than I had hoped," he said. "I've often laughed at the 
idiotic pride of these black-blooded, rather than blue- 
blooded, fire-eaters, but I shall bless it hereafter. 

" As you virtually say, you hardened old rebel, if George is 
worth the powder to blow him up, he'll drop you all now as 
if you had the plague. I've only to tell him what you and 
your doll-daugkter have said." 




WHEN George reached the counting-rooms, he saw 
that Bodine was not in his accustomed place. Sur- 
mising the truth at once, he hastened to his father's room, 
and asked almost sternly, — 

" Where is Captain Bodine ? " 

" I neither know nor care," was the cool reply. " He is 
dismissed from my service." 

" You have acted unjustly, sir," his son began hotly, " you 
have punished him for my " — 

"George," interrupted his father gravely, "remember 
what you said about angry words between us." 

The young man paced the office excitedly for a few 
moments in silence and then sat down. 

" That's right," resumed his father quietly. " I am glad 
you are able to attain self-control, for you now require the 
full possession of all your faculdes. Fortunately for both of 
us, this man, Bodine, has said more than enough to end this 
folly forever," and he began to repeat the conversation which 
had taken place. 

At a certain point George started, and, looking at his 
father with a shocked expression, asked, " Did you mean, 
sir, that you also would rather see me buried than married 
to a good woman whom I love ? " 

"That is your way of putting it," replied Mr, Hougliton, 
somewhat disconcerted, for his son's tone and look smote him 

"/ ABSOLVE YOU." 2/1 

sorely. " You will understand my feelings better wlien you 
have heard that rebel's final words ; " and he repeated them, 
ending with the sentences, " ' Tell the boy that my daughter 
says she will have nothing to do with him without my con- 
sent. Now if there is even the trace of a gentleman in his 
anatomy he will leave us alone.' In this final remark I cer- 
tainly do agree with him most emphatically," concluded the 
old man sternly. " Any human being, possessing a particle 
of self-respect, would prefer death to the humiliation and 
dishonor of seeking to force himself on such people." 

" I suppose you are right, sir, but I cannot help having 
my own thoughts." 

" Well, what are they ? " ' 

" That the girl has met in her home the same harsh, ter- 
rible opposition that 1 have found in mine." 

" Undoubtedly, thank heaven ! Whether she needed it 
or not she has evidently had the sense to take the whole- 
some medicine. The probabilities are, however, that she 
has laughed at the idea of receiving attentions so repugnant 
to her father and to me." 

" No doubt," said George wearily. " Very well, there is 
a trace of a gentleman in my anatomy. I would like to 
leave town for a while." 

" A very sensible wish, George," said his father kindly. 
" Go where you please, and take all the money you need. 
When you have come to see this affair in its true light 
come back to me. I will try to arrange my business so 
that we can make a visit North together in the early 

"Very well, sir," and there was apathy in his tones. 
After a moment he added, " Please give me some work this 

" No, my boy. Go and make your preparations at once. 
Divert your thoughts into new channels. Be a resolute man 


(or a few days, and then your own manhood will right you 
as a boat is righted when keeled over by a sudden gust." 

George was not long in forming the same plan which 
Clancy had adopted. He would go to the mountains in the 
interior, fish, hunt and tramp till the fever in his blood sub- 
sided. He told his father of his purpose. 

" All right, George. I only wish I were young and strong 
enough to go with you. It will not be long before you will 
see that I have had at heart only what was best for you." 

"■ I hope so, father ; I truly do, for I have had a new, 
strange experience. Even yet I can scarcely comprehend 
that you and Mr. Bodine could speak to your children, and 
^dictate to them in matters relating to their happiness as you 
both have done. It savors more of feudal times than of 
this free age." 

" In all times, George, the hasty passions and inconsid- 
erate desires of the young, when permitted gratification, 
have led to a lifetime of wretchedness. But we need not 
refer to this matter again. Bodine's final words have settled 
it for all time." 

" It would certainly seem so," said young Houghton. 
"Well, I will make my preparations to start to-morrow." 

His first step was to go direct to INIrs. Willoughby, and 
his dejected expression revealed to the lady that her antici- 
pations of strong opposition were correct, 

" I won't annoy you," she said, as George sat down and 
looked at her with troubled eyes, " by that saying of com- 
placently sagacious people, ' I told you so.' You may tell 
me all if you wish." 

"I do so wish, for I fear my way is blocked." And 
he related all that had occurred. When he ended with 
Bodine's final words she said thoughtfully, " Such language 
as that, combined with Ella's message, does seem to end 
the affair." 

"/ ABSOLVE VOU." 273 

" Well, I know this much," he replied ruefully, " I am a 
gentleman. No matter what it costs me I must continue 
to be one." 

" Yes, Mr. Houghton, you have acted like a gentleman, 
and, as you say, you must continue to do so. Let me con- 
gratulate and thank you for keeping your temper." 
, " I neady lost it when I learned that my father had dis- 
charged Mr. Bodine." 

" I understand how you felt then. You were sorely tried 
as I feared. Have you any reason to think that Ella feels 
in any such way as you do? " 

"None at all. My best hope was, that with time and 
opportunity, I could awaken like regard. While not at all 
sanguine, I would have made every effort in my power to 
win her respect and love. But now what can I do ? If I 
take another step I must forfeit my father's love and confi- 
dence, which is far more to me than his money. I have at 
least brain and muscle enough to earn a living for us both. 
I fear, however, that such a course would kill the old gentle- 
man. I could meet this problem by simply waiting if Ella 
cared for me, but she and her father have made it impossi- 
ble to approach her again. She has said she would have 
nothing to do with me without her father's consent, and he 
has said that he would rather bury her than permit my 

"Well, my friend, I see how it is, and I absolve you 
utterly. You can't go forward under the circumstances." 
I " No, for she would now probably meet any effort on my 
part with contempt, and agree with her father that a North- 
ern man couldn't even appreciate words that were hke a 

" Well, then, go to the mountains and forget all about it. 
If Ella had set her heart upon you as you have on her, and 
you both could be patiently constant, the future might have 


possibilities ; but if I were a man I would make no further 
effort under the circumstances." 

George went home with a heavy heart, and grimly entered 
upon the first hard battle of his life. 

Ella tried to be her old mirthful self when she came down 
to breakfast that morning, and succeeded fairly well. In 
spite of her father's bitter words and opposition he had 
told her a truth that was like the sun in the sky. George 
Houghton loved her, and he had revealed his love in no 
underhand way. She was proud of him ; she exulted over 
him, and, in the delicious pain of her own awakening heart, 
she forgot nearly every thing except the fact that he loved 

Bodine was perplexed by her manner and not wholly re- 
assured. When she had kissed him good-by for the day, he 
said, " Cousin Sophy, perhaps our fears last night had little 
foundation. Ella does not seem cast down this morning." 

The old lady shook her head and only remarked, " I hope 
it is not as serious as I feared." 

" Why do you fear so greatly? " 

"Suppose Ella does care for him more than we could 
wish, the fact you told her last night that this young fellow 
loves her, or thinks he does, would be very exhilarating. 
Oh, I know a woman's heart. We're all alike." 

"Curse him ! " muttered the captain. 

" No, no, no, pray for your enemies. That's commanded, 
but not that we should marry our daughters to them: Dear 
Cousin Hugh, we must keep our common sense in this mat- 
ter. This is probably Ella's first little love affair, and girls 
as well as boys often have t^vo or three before they settle 
down. Ella will soon get over it, if we ignore the whole 
affair as far as possible. You have much to be thankful for 
since neither of the young people is sly and underhanded. 
Never fear. That old Houghton will set his boy down more 

"/ ABSOLVE Your 2/5 

decidedly than you have Ella, and also send him out of 
town probably. This cloud will sink below the horizon be- 
fore we are many months older. Perhaps Ella will mope a 
little for a time, but we must not notice it, and must make it 
as cheerful for her as possible. Charleston men are begin- 
ning to call on her, and she'll soon discover that there are 
others in the world besides George Houghton." 

But the veteran halted to his work sore-hearted and angry. 
Strong-willed and decided as Mr. Houghton himself he 
could not endure the truth that his daughter had looked 
with favor on one so intensely disagreeable to him. He, 
too, felt that such an alliance would stultify his life and all 
his past, that it would bring him into contempt with those 
whose respect he most valued. Young Houghton's coolness 
and resolute purpose to ignore his opposition, together with 
the fact that Ella was not indifferent, troubled him, and led 
to the determination to take the strongest measures within 
his power to prevent further compHcations. This resolve 
accounted for his visit to Mr. Houghton's office and the 
words he uttered there. His employer, however, had 
aroused his anger to the last degree, and he returned home 
in a rage. 

Mrs. Bodine listened quietly to his recital of what had 
occurred, and then said, with her irrepressible little laugh, 
" Well, it was Greek meeting Greek. You both fired regu- 
lar broadsiders. Cool off, Cousin Hugh. Don't you see 
that all things are working for the best ? Your rupture with 
old Houghton will only secure you greater favor with our 
people, and Ella be cured all the sooner oi any weakness 
towards that old curmudgeon's son." 

"I should hope so," said her father most emphatically. 

" Don't you be harsh to Ella. We can laugh her out of 
this fancy much better than scold or threaten her out of it." 

" I shall not do either," said Bodine gravely. " I shall 


tell her the facts and then trust to her love, loyalty and good 
sense. It has been no laughing matter to me." 

Ella's cheerfulness and happiness grew apace all the 
morning. " To think that I should have brought that great 
Vandal to my feet so soon ! " she thought smiling to herself. 
" Dear me ! Why can't people let bygones be bygones ? 
Now if I could see him naturally what a chase I could lead 
him ! If he thinks I'll put my two hands together and say, 
' Please, sir, don't exert yourself. The weather is too warm 
for that. Behold thine handmaid/ he will be so mistaken 
that he will make some poor dinners. I'd be bound to 
keep him sighing like a furnace for a time. Well, well, I fear 
we both will have to do a lot of sighing, but time and 
patience see many changes. As Aun' Sheba says, he's on 
' 'bation,' and, if he holds out, our stern fathers may events 
ually see that the best way to be happy themselves is to 
make us happy. He thinks I'm a very frigid representative 
of the Southern people. Wouldn't he dance a jig if he 
knew? Well, speed thee on, old Father Time, and touch 
softly obdurate hearts." Thus with the hopefulness of youth 
she looked forward. 

Mara regarded her with misgivings, but asked no ques- 
tions. She also was sadly pre-occupied with her own 

"Aun' Sheba," Ella said, as the old woman entered, " I 
rather like this ' 'bation,' scheme of yours. I think of put- 
ting myself on ' 'bation.' " 

" Oh you go long, honey. Doan you make light ob serus 

"I'm doing nothing of the kind Aun' Sheba. I've too 
much respect for you." 

"Oh well, honey, sich as you gits 'ligion jes as you did de 
measles. It's kin ob bawn an' baptize inter yez wen you 
doan know it. But I'se got to hab a po'ful conwiction ob 

"/ ABSOLVE YOU." 2// 

sin fust, an' dats de trouble wid me. I says to myself, ' Aun' 
Sheba, you'se a wile sinner. Why doan you cry an' groan, 
an' hab a big conwiction ? Den you feel mo' shuah ; but 
de conwiction won' come no how. Sted ob groanin' I gits 

"Well, I think I've got a conwiction Aun' Sheba, and I'm 
not a bit sleepy." 

" 1 don' know what you dribin at. Bettah be keerful how 
you talk, honey." 

" I think so too, Ella." 

" O Mara ! you take such ' lugubrious ' views, as I heard 
some one say. There^ Aun' Sheba ! I'll sober down some 




ELLA was very much surprised to find her father reading 
in the parlor when she returned home. " Why papa ! " 
she cried, with misgivings of trouble, "are you not well?" 

"I cannot say that I am, Ella, but my pain is mental 
rather than physical. Mr. Houghton dismissed me with 
insults from his service this morning." 

Ella flushed scarlet. "Where was young Mr. Hough- 
ton ? " she asked indignantly. 

" Sent to Coventry, probably. He evidently did not dare 
put in an appearance." 

She sat down and drew a long breath. 

" Ella," said her father very gravely, " I shall not treat 
you as a child. You have compelled me to recognize that 
you are no longer the little girl that had grown so gradually 
and lovingly at my side." 

" Papa," cried Ella, " I am not less lovingly at your side 

" I hope so. I shall believe it if, with the spirit which 
becomes your birth, you do take your place at my side in 
unrelenting hostility to these Houghtons who have heaped 
insult upon us, the son by rash, headlong action which he 
would soon regret, and the father by insufferable insolence. 
Bujt you shall judge for yourself" And he began, as Mr. 
Houghton had done, to repeat what had passed between 


At the same terrible words which had smitten George, 
she also cried, " Papa, did you say you would rather bury 

"Yes," said the veteran sternly, "and I would rather be 
buried myself. You must remember that I am at heart a 
soldier and not a trader. I could not survive dishonor to 
you or myself; and any relation except that of enmity 
to these Houghtons would humiliate me into the very mire. 
What's more, Mr. Houghton feels in the same way about 
his son. I am not one whit more averse than he is. He 
virtually said that he would disinherit and cast out his son 
should he continue to offend by seeking your hand. I, in 
return, told him that if the sentimental boy had even the 
trace of a gentleman in his anatomy he would leave us 
alone. Now you can measure the gravity of the situation. 
The name of our ancestors, the sacred cause for which I 
and so many that I loved perilled and lost life, forbid that 
I should take any other course. Turn from this folly and 
all will be serene and happy soon. I can obtain a position 
elsewhere. Surely, Ella, you are too true a Southern girl 
to have given your heart unsought, unasked to your knowl- 
edge till last night. Your very pride should rescue you 
from such a slough as this." 

The girl had turned pale and red as he spoke. Now she 
rose and said falteringly, " Papa, I'm no hypocrite. As I 
told you last night, I will do nothing whatever without your 

" You will never have my consent even to speak to that 

"Very well then," she said quietly, "that ends it." 

So apparently it did. Ella went to her room and for a 
few moments indulged in a passion of grief. "Oh, t ) 
think," she moaned, "that fathers can say to their childFcn 
that they would rather bury them than give up the bitterne-- 


of an old and useless enmity ! It is indeed all ended, for 
he would never look at me again after papa's words." In a 
few moments she added, " Mine also, mine also, for I said, 
* Tell him I will do nothing without papa's consent.' Well, 
I only hope he can get over it easier than I can." 

She soon washed the traces of tears from her eyes and 
muttered, " I won't show the white feather anyhow, even 
if I haven't Aun' Sheba's comfort of being on ' 'bation.' " 
And she marched down to dinner with the feeling of a sol- 
dier who has a campaign rather than a single battle before 

There was a little stiffness at first ; but Mrs. Bodine, with 
her fine tact, soon began to banish this, and the old lady was 
pleased that Ella seconded her efforts so readily. Bodine 
was a man and a straightforward soldier, honest in his views 
and actions, however mistaken they might be. He had not 
feminine quickness in outward self-recovery, and the waves 
of his strong feeling could only subside gradually. He soon 
began to congratulate himself, however, that his strong meas- 
ures had led to a most fortunate escape, and he admitted 
the truth of his cousin's words that young girls were subject 
to sudden attacks of romantic sentiment before they were 
fairly launched into society. 

As the days passed these impressions were strengthened, 
for Ella appeared merrier than ever before. Mrs. Bodine 
kept pace with her nonsense which at times even verged on 
audacity, and the veteran began to laugh as he had done 
before the " Houghton episode," as he now characterized it 
in his mind. Mrs. Bodine, however, began to observe little 
things in Ella which troubled her. 

On the morning following that of Bodine's dismissal, Mara 
saw at once from Ella's expression that something unpleas- 
ant had occurred. 

" What has happened? " she asked anxiously. 


" Oh, we've had an earthquake at our house," was the 
somewhat bitter reply. Fondly as she loved Mara, Ella 
stood in no awe of her whatever, and her heart was almost 
bursting from the strong repression into which she knew she 
must school herself for the sake of her father. 

" Please, Ella, don't talk riddles." 

"Well, papa and old Houghton have had a regular 
pitched battle ; papa has been discharged, and is now a 
gentleman of leisure." 

" Shameful ! What earthly reason could that old 
wretch " — 

" I'm the earthly reason." 

" Ella, don't tantalize me." 

" Well, that misguided little boy, who must stand six feet 
in his stockings, had the preposterous presumption — there's 
alliteration for you, but nothing else is equal to the case — 
to ask papa if he might pay his addresses to me. Isn't that 
the conventional phrase ? At the bare thought both of our 
papas went off like heavy columbiads, and we poor little 
children have been blown into space." 

" O Ella ! how can you speak so ! " cried Mara indignant- 
ly. "The idea of associating your father with that man 
Houghton in your thoughts ! It does indeed seem that no 
one can have any thing to do with such Yankees as come to 
this city " — 

"There now, Mara," said Ella a little irritably, "I haven't 
Aun' Sheba's grace of self-depreciation. I haven't been con- 
jured into a monster by Northern associations, and I haven't 
lost my common sense. I don't associate papa with old 
Houghton, as no one should know better than you. No 
daughter ever loved father more than I love papa. What's 
more, I've given him a proof of it, which few daughters are 
called upon to give. But I'm not a fool. The same facul- 
ties which enable me to know that you are Mara Wallingford 


reveal to me with equal clearness that papa and Mr. Hough- 
ton have acted in much the same way." 

" Could you imagine for a moment that your father would 
permit the attentions of that young Houghton?" 

" Certainly I could imagine it. If papa had come to me 
and said, * Ella, I have learned beyond doubt that Mr. 
Houghton is sly, mean, unscrupulous, or dissipated,' I should 
have dropped him as I would a hot poker. Instead of all 
this the Vandal goes to papa like a gentleman, tells him the 
truth, intrusts him with the message of his regard for me, and 
promises that if papa will tell me he will not, — also prom- 
ises that he will not make the slightest effort to win my favor 
without papa's knowledge. Then he told his own father 
about his designs upon the little baker. Then both of our 
loving papas said in chorus of us silly children, ' We'll see 
'em buried first.' " 

"I don't wonder your father said so," Mara remarked 

"Well, /wonder, and I can't understand it," cried Ella, 
bursting into a passion of tears. 

"There now, Ella," Mara began soothingly, "you will 
see all in the true light when you have had time to think it 
over. Remember how old Houghton is looked upon in 
this city. Consider his intense hostility to us." 

" I've nothing to say for him," sobbed Ella. 

"Well, it would be said that your father had permitted 
you to marry the son of this rich old extortioner for the 
sake of his money. Your action would throw discredit on 
all your father's life and devotion to a cause " — 

" Which is dead as Julius Caesar," Ella interrupted. 
— "But which is as sacred to us," continued Mara very 
gravely, "as the memory of our loved and honored 

" I don't believe our loved and honored dead would wish 


useless unhappiness to continue indefinitely. What earthly 
good can ever result from this cherished bitterness and 
enmity? O mamma, mamma ! I wish you had lived, for 
you would have understood the love which forgives and 
heals the wounds of the past." 

" Ella, can you have given your love to this alien and 
almost stranger? " 

" I have at least given him my respect and admiration," 
she replied, rising and wiping her eyes before resuming her 
work. Suddenly she paused, and in a serio-comic attitude 
she pointed with the roller as she said, " Mara, suppose you 
insisted that that kitchen table was a cathedral, would it be a 
cathedral to me ? No more so than that your indiscriminate 
prejudices against Northern people are grand, heroic, or 
based on truth. So there, now. I've got to unburden my 
feelings somewhere ; although I expect sympathy from no 
one. I believe in the angels' song of ' Peace on earth and 
good will toward men.' " 

" I fear your good will towards one man," said Mara, very 
sadly, "is taking you out of sympathy with those who love 
you, and who have the best and most natural right to your 

" See how mistaken you are ! I shall never be out of 
sympathy with you, papa, or Cousin Sophy. But how can I 
sympathize with some of your views when God has given 
me a nature that revolts at them ? If you ever love a good 
man, God and your own heart will teach you what a sacred 
thing it is. What if I am poor, and lacking in graces and 
accomplishments, I know I have an honest, loving nature. 
Think of that old man Houghton condemning and threaten- 
ing his son, as if he had committed a vile crime in his most 
honorable intentions towards me ! Well, well, it's all over. 
I've given my word to papa that I'll do nothing without his 
consent, aild he'll see me buried before he'll give it. Don't 


you worry, I'm not going to pine and live on moonshine. 
I'll prove that I'm a Bodine in my own way." 

" Yes, Ella, you will, and eventually it will be in the right 

" Mara, what I have said is in confidence, and since I've 
had my say I'd rather not talk about it any more." 

Mara was glad enough to drop the subject, for Ella had 
been saying things to which her own heart echoed most 
uncomfortably. She and Mrs. Hunter accepted Mrs. 
Bodine's invitation to dine that evening, and, in her sympa- 
thy for Bodine, was kinder to him than ever, thus reviving 
his hopes and deepening his feelings. 

Time passed, bringing changes scarcely perceptible on 
the surface, yet indicating to observant eyes concealed and 
silent forces at work. And these were observant eyes j 
Mrs. Bodine saw that Ella was masking feelings and memo- 
ries to which no reference was made. Ella began to 
observe that her father's demeanor towards Mara was not 
the same as that by which he manifested his affection for 
her. While she was glad for his sake, and hoped that Mara 
would respond favorably, she had an increased sense of 
injustice that he should seek happiness in a way forbidden 
to her. The thought would arise, " I am not so much to 
him after all." 

One day, near the end of July, Ella, her father, Mrs. 
Hunter and Mara, were on the Battery, sitting beneath the 
shade of a live oak. The raised promenade, overlooking 
the water, was not far away, and among the passers-by Mara 
saw Clancy and Miss Ainsley approaching. Apparently 
they were absorbed in each other, but, when opposite, 
Clancy turned and looked her full in the face. She gave 
no sign of recognition nor did he. That mutual and unob- 
served encounter of their eyes set its seal on their last inter- 
view. They were strangers. 


"There goes a pair, billing and cooing," said Ella with a 

" Mara, don't you feel well? " asked the captain anxiously. 
" You look very pale." 

" I felt the heat very much to-day," she repUed evasively. 
'' I am longing for August and rest." 

"O Mara! let us shut up shop at once," cried Ella. 
" Papa is at leisure now and we can make little expeditions 
down the bay, out to Summerville and elsewhere." 

"No," Mara replied, "I would rather do just what we 
agreed upon. It's only a few days now." 

" You are as sot as the everlasting hills." 

Mara was silent, and glad indeed that her quiet face gave 
no hint of the tumult in her heart. 

Mrs. Hunter's eyes were angrily following Clancy and Miss 
Ainsley. " Well," she said with a scornful laugh, " that rene- 
gade Southerner has found his proper match in that Yankee 
coquette. I doubt whether he gets her though, if a man ever 
does get a born flirt. When she's through with Charleston 
she'll be through with him, if all I hear of her is true." 

"Oh, you're mistaken, Mrs. Hunter," Ella answered. 
" She fairly dotes on him, and if he don't marry her he's a 
worse flirt than she is. Think of Mr. Clancy's blue blood. 
She undoubtedly appreciates that." 

" I'm inchned to think that he was a changeHng, and that 
old Colonel Clancy's child was spirited away." 

" I beg your pardon, Mrs. Hunter, but I differ with you. 
While I cannot share in many of Mr. Clancy's views and 
afiiliations, he has the reputation of being sincere and 
straightforward. Even his enemies must admit that he 
seeks to make his friendliness to the North conducive to 
Southern interests." 

Mara's heart smote her that even Captain Bodine had 
been fairer to Clancy than she had been. 


Words rose to Ella's lips, but she repressed them, and 
soon afterwards they returned to their respective homes. 

Mara early retired to the solitude of her own room, for 
that cold mutual glance on the Battery had suggested a new 
thought not yet entertained. In her mental excitement it 
promised to banish the dreary stagnation of her life. She 
must have a motive, and if it involved the very self-sacrifice 
that she had been warned against, so much the better. 

" It would teach Owen Clancy how futile were his words," 
she said to herself. " It would bring happiness to my 
father's friend; it would become a powerful incentive in 
my own life, and, above all, would compel me to banish 
the thought of one to whom I have said I will never speak 

The more she dwelt upon this course, the more clear it 
became in her warped judgment the one path of escape 
from an aimless, hopeless existence fast becoming unen- 
durable. She was not by any means wholly selfish in 
reaching her decision, for thoughts of her own need did 
not predominate. " If I cannot be happy myself," she 
reasoned, " I can make Captain Bodine happy, for there 
could not be a more devoted wife than I will become, if 
he puts into words the language of his eyes. Ella has 
already ceased to be in true sympathy with him in matters 
that have made so much of the warp and woof of his life. 
We two are one in these respects. I can and will cast out 
all else if my motive is strong enough." 




CLANCY had gone to Nature to be calmed and healed, 
but he had brought a spirit at variance with her teach- 
ings. He soon recognized that he was neither receptive nor 
docile. He chafed impatiently and angrily at Mara's ob- 
duracy, which, nevertheless, only increased his love for her. 
The deepest instincts of his nature made him feel that she 
belonged to him, and he to her. The barrier between them 
•" was so intangible that he was in a sort of rage that he could 
not brush it aside. Reflection always brought him back to 
the conviction that she did love him. Her passionate words, 
" If my heart break a thousand times I will never speak to 
you again," grew more and more significant. Odd fancies, 
half-waking dreams about her, pursued him into the solitude 
of the forest. She seemed like one -imprisoned ; he could 
see, but could not reach and release her. Again she was 
under a strange, malign spell, which some day might sud- 
denly be broken, — broken all too late. 

Then she would dwell in his thoughts as the victim of a 
species of moral insanity which might pass away. At times 
her dual life became so clear to him that he was almost im- 
pelled to hasten back to the city, in the belief that he could 
speak such strong, earnest words as would enable her to cast 
aside her prejudices, and break away from the influences 
which were darkening and misshaping her life. Then he 
would despondently recall all that he had said and done, and 
how futile had been his effort. 


He neither fished nor hunted, but passed the time either 
in long tramps, or in sitting idly tormented by perturbed 
thoughts. Believing that he had reached a crisis in his life, 
it was his nature to come to some decision. He was essen- 
tially a man of action, strong-willed and resolute. He de- 
spised what he termed weakness, forgetting that the impulses 
of strength often lead to error, for the reason that patience 
and fortitude are lacking. 

In facing the possibilities of the future, he began to yield 
to the promptings of ambition, a trait which had no mean 
place in his character. " If Mara denies her love, and sacri- 
fices herself to Bodine," he reasoned, " what is there left for 
me but to make the most of my life by attaining power and 
influence ? I can only put pleasures and excitements in the 
place of happiness. I won't go through life like a winged 

When such thoughts were in the ascendant. Miss Ainsley 
presented herself to his fancy, alluring, fascinating, beckon- 
ing. She seemed the embodiment of that brilliant career 
which he regarded as the best solace he could hope for. 
Often, however, he would wake in the night, and, from his 
forest bivouac, look up at the stars. Then a calm, deep 
voice in his soul would tell him unmistakably that, even if 
he attained every success that he craved, his heart would not 
be in it, that he would always hide the melancholy of a 
lifelong disappointment. All these misgivings and com- 
punctions usually ended in the thought, " Caroline Ainsley 
and all that she represents is the best I can hope for now. 
She may be playing with me — I'm not sure. If she will 
marry me, I can probably give her as true a regard as she 
will bestow upon me. She is not a woman to love devotedly 
and unselfishly, not counting the cost. I could not marry 
such a woman, for I feel it would be base to take what I 
could not return ; but I could marry her. I would do her no 


wrong, for I could give to her all the affection to which she 
is entitled, all that she would actually care for. If I am 
mistaken, I am totally at fault in the impression which she 
has made upon me, and I do not think that I am. I am 
not in love with her, and therefore am not blind. She is not 
in love with me. It has merely so happened that I have 
proved agreeable to her, pleased, amused, and interested 
her. Possibly I have led her to feel that we are so compan- 
ionable that a Hfe journey together would be quite endurable. 
My reason, all my instincts, assure me that this beautiful 
girl has considered this question more than once before, — 
that she is considering it now, coolly and deliberately. I am 
being weighed in the balances of her mind, for I do not 
think she has heart enough to enable that organ to have 
much voice in the matter. Her views and beliefs are intel- 
lectual. No strong, earnest feelings sway her. When have 
her sympathies been touched in behalf of any one or any 
cause ? O my rare beauty ! I am not blind. Selfishness is 
the mainspring of your character ; but it is a selfishness so 
refined, so rational and amenable to the laws of good taste, 
that it can be calculated upon with almost mathematical 
accuracy. You are no saint, but a saint might be beguiled 
into faults which to you are impossible. You are a fit bride 
for ambition, and would be its crown and glory." 

Such was often the tenor of his thoughts, and ambition 
suggested the many doors to advancement which such an 
alliance would open. Mr. Ainsley was not only a man of 
wealth, but also of large, liberal ideas. It certainly would 
be a pleasure and a constant exhilaration to aid him in 
carrying out his great enterprises. 

Thus Clancy, as well as Mara, was led by disappointment 
in his dearest hope of happiness to seek what next promised 
best in his estimation to redeem life from a dreary monotony 
of negations. He also resolved to have motives and incen- 


tives ; nor was his ambition purely selfish, for he purposed 
to use whatever power, wealth and influence he might 
obtain for the benefit of the people among whom he dwelt. 
Hers, however, was the nobler motive, and the less selfish, 
for it involved self-sacrifice, even though it was mistaken, 
and could lead only to wrong action. It would cost him 
nothing to carry out his large, beneficent purposes. Indeed, 
they would add to his pleasures and enhance his reputation. 
She Avas but a woman, and saw no other path of escape 
from the conditions of her lot except the thorny one of 

Alternately cast down, and fired by conflicting thoughts 
and purposes, Clancy soon discovered that the woods was 
no place for him, and he resolved to return to the city, there 
to be guided by the circumstances of the next few weeks. 
If it became clear that Mara had not been influenced by his 
warning, but on the contrary was accepting Bodine's atten- 
tions, then he would face the truth that she was lost to him 
beyond hope. Without compunction he would turn to Miss 
Ainsley, and, with all the wariness and penetration which he 
could exercise, seek to discover how far she would go with 
him in his fife campaign to achieve eminence. He was 
glad, however, that he did not regard her as essential to his 
plans and hopes. Indeed, he had the odd feeling that 
even if she rejected him as a husband, he could shake hands 
with her and say, " Very well, Ainsley, we can be good com- 
rades just the same. We amuse and interest each other, 
we mutually stimulate our mental faculties. Let it end 

In this mood he fulfilled his promise and wrote as 
follows : — 

My dear Ainsley, — Permit me to remind you of my existence 
— if one can be said to exist in these wilds. An expedition of this 
kind is a good thing for a fellow occasionally. It enables him to get 


acquainted with himself, to indulge in egotism without being a nui- 
sance. I have neither hunted, fished, nor studied the natives. I 
have not seen a " mountain maid " whose embrace I would prefer to 
that of a bear. I have merely tramped aimlessly about, meanwhile 
learning that I am not adapted to communion with nature. At this 
moment I should prefer smoking a cigar with you on the balcony to 
looking at scenery which should inspire artist and poet. I am neither, 
merely a man of affairs. Humanity interests me more than oaks, 
however gigantic. You see I have no soul, no heart, no soaring 
imagination. I am as matter-of-fact a fellow as you are. That's why 
we get on so well together. We can chaff, spar, and run intellectual 
tilts as ami'-ably as any two men in town. This proves you to be 
quite exceptional — delightfully so. I'm not surprised, however, for, 
as I have said to you, you are sated with the other kind of thmg. 
How long will this fancy last? Now that you are so manly you 
should not be fickle. You have not half comprehended the penalties 
of your new role, for you may find that it involves a distressing frank- 
ness. I think I had better close. Letter-writing pre-supposes literary 
qualities which I do not possess. Men, unless sentimentally inclined, 
or given to hobbies, rarely write long letters to each other. If unusu- 
ally congenial they can talk together as long as women. I do not 
know of a man in town who can equal you as good company ; and 
with this fact in mind, I shall atone for a brief letter by putting in an 
appearance at an early date. If you have had any flirtations in my 
absence I shall expect all the details. You know I do not care for 
such trivial amusements. In this material age, making the world 
move in the way of business affords ample scope for my limited 
faculties, while a chat with you is better than a game of chess in the 
way of recreation, better than moping in the woods. 

Your friend, 


He had barely time to post the letter before the mail- 
stage left the little hamlet in which it was written. He was 
soon dissatisfied with himself and the missive, and regretted 
having written it. Before an hour had passed he muttered, 
" I never wrote such a letter to a woman before, and I won't 
again. I put myself in the worst light, in fact was unjust to 
myself. How differendy I would write to Mara ! Is it the 


difference in women which inevitably inspires different 
thought and action ? At any rate, there is a touch of coarse- 
ness in this mascuHne persiflage which grates. When 
I return we must become friends as man and woman. I 
wonder if she will feel as I do about it? " 

Miss Ainsley was not satisfied with the letter at all, one 
reason being that it revealed too much penetration on 
Clancy's part. While she welcomed him with her old 
cordiality she took him to task at once. 

" This is a spurious letter," she said, holding it up. " You 
would never write such an affair to a male friend. You be- 
trayed a consciousness of my femininity in every line. You 
preached to me and warned me with the same penful of ink. 
You write as if you were a commonplace male cynic, and I 
a woman who was trying to unsex herself by a lot of ridicu- 
lous affectations. I wished a genial, jolly letter such as you 
might write to an old college chum." 

" Do you know the reason why I did not, rather could 
not, write such a letter ? " 

" Because you are not an old college chum." 
" I was not aware that you were so tremendously sincere." 
" I'm not tremendously sincere, — not tremendous in any 
grand sense of the word, but I've learned that I can be 
tremendously awkward in a false position. It is absurd of 
you to fancy that I can think of you in any other light than 
that of a beautiful woman, gifted with more than your share 
of intellect. I prefer that our friendship should rest on this 
obvious fact. We are too old ' to make believe ' as children 
say. I came to this conclusion within an hour after I wrote 
the letter." 

" Oh, you dashed it off hastily, without giving it thought ! " 
" I've given you two thoughts to your one," he replied, 
laughing lightly. 


" And none of them very complimentary judging from the 
letter." And she impatiently tore it up. 
"That's right. Put it out of existence." 
" I almost wish I had kept it as documentary evidence 
against you," she remarked. 

" Oh, come ! Friends do not wish evidence against, but 
for each other. I could remain away scarcely a week." 

" From business, yes." 

" Or from my most delightful recreation ; yes." 

" You find me very amusing then." 

" I do indeed, and interesting also. I am quite certain 
that your society gives me far more pleasure than mine 
affords you." 

" Since I am relegated to woman's sphere I certainly shall 
not protest against that belief. I am now under no bonds to 
be distressingly frank." 

"You never would have been any franker than you 
wished to be. For the manifestation of that trait I shall 
have to depend on something very different." 

" And what may that be ? " 

" Why, simply the quality of your friendship." 

" I am satisfied that mine compares very favorably with 

"In both instances neither of us can escape one sure 

"Indeed! What test?" 

" That of time," he replied, smiling significantly. " Good- 
by. I'm quite sure that your regard will survive till to-morrow 
afternoon when we are to take a sail in the harbor, so JSIrs. 
Willoughby has informed me." 

Miss Ainsley gave a little complacent nod in his direction 
as he disappeared, and thought, " Since you are so content 
and agreeable as a friend merely, I'm half-inclined to keep 
you as such, and marry some one else." 


"bitterness must be cherished." 

To all appearance the long hot days of August were 
passing very uneventfully to the characters of our 
story. The cold look which Clancy received from Mara on 
the Battery, together with the fact that Bodine appeared 
more lover-like than ever, speedily satisfied him that his 
best resource was the ambitious career which in his absence 
he had accepted in the place of happiness. He therefore 
gave himself up quite unreservedly to Miss Ainsley's fasci- 
nations, and, with all the skill and energy he possessed, 
seconded her father's business enterprises. Mr. Ainsley was 
sometimes in town, and again absent, as his business inter- 
ests required ; for he was one of those indefatigable men 
who, with soldier-like energy and fearlessness, carry out their 
plans, regardless of discomfort or danger. He recognized 
the fact that Clancy was both capable and useful, and was 
already inchned to make him one of his chief lieutenants in 
the South. He understood the young man's relations to his 
daughter perfectly, and was not at all averse to a union 
between them. At the same time, he knew how problemati- 
cal Caroline's action would be, and that it would be useless 
for him to appear for or against the match. He was aware 
of his daughter's attitude in regard to marriage, and also 
convinced that she would take her own course. 

It would seem that she was taking no course whatever at 
present, but indolently and complacendy letting matters 


drift. She sometimes smilingly thought, " I scarcely know 
whether Mr. Clancy is friend or lover. I suppose I could 
lead him to be more pronounced in either character if I 
chose, but, since he is so agreeable as he is, I would be a 
fool not to keep every thing in statu quo till I wish a change. 
Life is too long to give up a pleasure before you are through 
with it." 

Clancy quietly studied her mood, and was in no greater 
hurry than herself. Indeed,- both felt that they had arrived 
at a comparatively clear mutual understanding, and so were 
quite at their ease, she enjoying his society abundantly, and 
he hers, as far as his bitter memories would permit. 

Quick of apprehension, Bodine soon perceived a change 
in Mara's attitude towards him, but was considerate in avail- 
ing himself of such slight encouragement as she gave. He 
had been taught by her manner that her first feeling on the 
discovery of a warmer regard than she had expected was 
that of repulsion. He now believed that she had thought 
the matter over, and was learning that it might not be 
impossible to regard him in a new and different light. Long 
since the ardor of youth had passed, and he was disposed 
to allow her time to become accustomed to the thought of 
wifehood. In the mean time he put forth every effort to 
prove himself companionable, in spite of their disparity 
in age. It was not his delicate and thoughtful attentions, 
however, which reconciled her to the future that she had 
accepted, but rather the motives already revealed. Under 
the influence of these, a certain species of mental excite- 
ment had been evoked. She had not ceased to suffer, but 
she had ceased merely to exist. 

There was something now to look forward to, sacred duties 
to anticipate, and a future which was not a blank. She 
believed that in giving help and happiness to another she 
would more surely trample on self, and make it the vantage 


ground for a greater devotion than that of most women 
whose love is often partly self-love. In regarding her first 
pure love and all its promptings as the phase of self to be 
destroyed, she was committing her fatal error ; and of this 
error, not only Clancy's words, but also her own heart, often 
warned her. But she was not one to turn back, having once 
resolved upon a course. 

She had far too much delicacy and maidenly pride to 
suggest consciously to Bodine the nature of her thoughts, 
but she was willing that he should see that she no longer 
shrank outwardly from his occasional manifestations of a 
tenderer regard than he bestowed upon Ella. That some- 
thing in her woman's nature beyond her control did shrink 
and plead for escape, she knew well ; but to conquer this 
Instinctive aversion was a part of the task which she had set 
for herself. 

Not only quick-witted Ella, but also Mrs. Bodine and Mrs. 
Hunter, saw the drift of affairs, and gave their unhesitating 
approval. Mrs. Hunter was glad, because it would destroy 
Clancy's prospects forever, and prove a sort of triumph over 
him. Then it was, as she assured Mara one day, "eminently 
fitting. Your father and mother would both approve." 

"That thought comes to me, too," calmly rejoined the 
girl. " I hope they will — I think they will. But let us not 
talk further till all is settled." 

Mrs. Bodine believed the marriage would result well on 
other grounds. "Cousin Hugh," she said one day when 
they were alone, " you may shut me up if I am meddling, 
but you are not thinking of Mara in the same way that you 
did in the spring." 

" I admit it, Cousin Sophy, and you need not shut up." 

" Well, I reckon it will come about. On general princi- 
ples I don't approve of such marriages, but I suppose there 
are exceptions to most rules. As I have said to you before, 


Mara is as old in her feelings as you are, and I think you 
will be happier together than you would be apart. I never 
understood Mara altogether : but of one thing I am certain, 
she must have some strong motive, some thing or some per- 
son for whom she can sacrifice herself ; and, being a woman, 
she would have a good deal better time sacrificing herself 
to a man than to any thing else ; " and the old lady chirped 
her little complacent laugh. 

"Rest assured," said the veteran, " I don't want any self- 
sacrifice in Mara's case." 

" Of course not ; nor do I. I wouldn't approve of any 
actual self-sacrifice, but Mara will try to come as near it as 
she can. I reckon she'd be more drawn towards a cripple 
like you than the handsomest young fellow in town, on gen- 
eral principles; and then she has been interested in you 
from the first, because you, in a peculiar sense, represent 
to her the past, which has been almost her only inheritance." 

" I confess that I have indulged in the same thoughts 
which you express. God grant that we both are right ! She 
has become strangely dear to me. Once I could never have 
imagined it at my time of life." 

" Oh, the heart needn't grow old," was the laughing reply. 

The captain's outlook was rendered more favorable by 
the reception of a note which contained the offer of a better 
position than that held in the employ of the detested Mr. 
Houghton. When he investigated the matter he learned 
that the offer came largely through the influence of Clancy, 
and this last confirmed the veteran's impression that the 
young man was using his influence and prosperity for the 
benefit of the South. 

To Mara it was a bitter ordeal to listen to Bodine's com- 
placent explanation of the affair, and she was glad that she 
was told in the dusky twilight, which concealed an expres- 
, sion of pain even beyond her control. Words of passionate 


protest rose to her very lips, but she remembered in time 
that they would involve revelations which would thwart her 
purpose to make him happy at every cost to herself. If he 
ever learned what Clancy had been to her, what he was at 
this agonized moment, her vocation, if not gone, would be 
impaired beyond remedy. Afterwards, in the solitude of 
her own room, she accepted this bitter experience, as she 
had resolved to accept all others, as a part of her lot. 

In her morbidness she became Jesuitical. Her father's old 
friend should be made as happy as it was in her power to 
render him. Whatever interfered with this purpose should 
be concealed or trampled upon. Of Clancy she said bitterly, 
" If he thinks he has been magnanimous, how little he under- 
stands me." 

Clancy's motives had been somewhat mixed. He was 
willing that her pride should be rebuked and wounded, and 
he also wished her to know that he was above the petty 
resentment of jealousy. 

Poor Ella felt that she was becoming isolated ; an impres- 
sion, however, which she would not have had were it not for 
her recent experiences. Had her heart remained as light 
and untouched as it was when we first met her, her pleasure 
over her father's prospects would have been unalloyed. 
Even now her satisfaction was deep and sincere, but it was 
not in human nature to forget how summarily she had been 
denied the happiness so sweet to those of her age. She felt, 
however, that all were against her ; that even kind old Mrs. 
Bodine '^vould not hsten patiently to her thoughts. So she 
kept them to herself, and sought by forced mirthfulness 
to disguise them. She talked and laughed with the young 
men who called upon her, and they came in increasing num- 
bers as inevitably as a flower attracts the bees. She was the 
life of the " family excursions," as she characterized in her 
thoughts those m which Mara and Mrs. Hunter had a part ; 


and she joined others of which her father approved, but 
there was often trouble and sadness in her eyes, and her 
cheeks and form were losing their roundness of outUne. Mrs, 
Bodine was not deceived. She noted every thing silently, 
and thought, " She is making a brave fight ; she must 
make a brave fight. There is no other course for her. I 
reckon she'll win it, as many a girl has before." 

The old lady was thoughtful, kind, and very attentive. At 
the same time, with the nicest tact, she infused a firmness 
and spirit into her demeanor which made the girl feel that 
her cousin had sympathy only with the effort to conquer or 
forget. And she honestly made such effort, but was often 
aghast at its futility. In her brusque way she said to her- 
self, "What's the use of trying? It seems like a disease 
which must run its course till old Father Time brings some 
sort of a cure." 

One day she went to see Aun' Sheba, and found the old 
woman feeling poorly. 

"Yes, honey," she said, "bein' lazy doan 'gree wid me 
'tall. I doan see how Unc. stan's it all de yeah roun'." 

" I hab de rheumatiz," Uncle Sheba remarked in the way 
of explanation. 

" Now, Unc, dat ar rheumatiz is like de scapegoat in de 
Bible. You loads it up wid all you sins. We all hope dat 
wen you got so sot on dat you'd turn ober a new leaf. How 
you Stan' it sittin' roun' all day I doan see, no how. I'se 
gettin' so heaby an' logy an' oncomf 'ble dat I'se gwine ter 
take in washin' de rest ob de month." 

" I'd be glad to go to work to-morrow, too," said Ella. 
" I'd be glad of any thing to make the time pass." 

"Why, honey, wot you want de time to pass quick fer? 
You oughter be hke de hummin'-bird, gederin sweets all de 

" I feel more like a croaking raven." 


" You'se quar, Missy Ella. You'se up an' you'se down, 
an' you doan know why. Ole Hannah dat lib wid you says 
dat you'se gittin' a lot ob beaux. Why, you eben make a 
'pression on dat big, 'ansome Northern chap, ole Houghton's 
son, wen you doan know it. More'n once he ax me which de 
cakes you make, an' wen I tell him, he wanter buy dem all." 

"That's very funny," Ella said, and there was the old 
mirthful ring in her laugh. 

"You know him?" Aun' Sheba asked quickly. 

" I met him at Mrs. Willoughby's." 

" Shuah now ! Dat counts fer it. Well, he'd gobble all 
you'se cake if I'd let him, but I had oder cus'mers on my 
min', an' he seem ter hab on'y you on his min'." 

" You were very wise, Aun' Sheba. So much cake would 
have made him ill," and she still laughed joyously. 

" 'Pears to me you'se gittin' betteh. Missy Ella." 

" Oh, you always make me laugh and hearten me up, Aun' 

" Well, who'd a tink dat ar civil, nice spoken young man 
was de son ob dat ole sinner Houghton. Reckon Missy 
Mara doanhke you'se talkin' wid him at Mis Wil'by's." 

" Of course not. He's a Northern Vandal you know." 

" Dunno notin' 'bout Wandals. I jedge folks by wot dey is 
deysefs. He couldn't help bein' bawn at de Norf. Long 
as he 'habe himself, wot dat agin him? " 

" Being born at the North is a crime, some people think." 

"Yes, I know, but dat ar suttingly fool talk. Dat ain't de 
trouble so much in dis case. It's cause he's dat ole 'tanker- 
ous Houghton's son," 

" He isn't to blame for that either," Ella answered hotly. 

" Lor', Missy Ella ! how you stan' up fer 'im." 

" I don't believe in injustice, Aun' Sheba," said Ella 
quietly, conscious meanwhile that her cheeks were getting 
very red. 


" De heat am po'ful," Aun' Sheba remarked sententiously. 
Then her plump form began to shake with mirth. " Dar 
now, Missy Ella," she added, " de blin' ole woman kin see 
as fur in de grin-stone as de next one. He'd stan' up fer 
you too agin de hull work It shines right out in his 'ansome 

" How very blind you are, Aun' Sheba ! Why, he's not 
fit to be spoken to, and I'm not to speak to him again as 
long as I live. Good-by. Good-by, Uncle Sheba. I've 
heard that sawing wood was the best cure for rheumatism 
known ; " and she flitted out of the dusky cabin hke a trop- 
ical bird. 

Aun' Sheba still laughed to herself, and remarked, " Unc, 
s'pose you try Missy Ella's cure?" 

"Wot she know 'bout it?" growled Uncle Sheba, with an 
injured aspect. " Wot de use ob sawin' wood all day wen de 
town hot 'nuff now to roas' lobsters ? " 

" Dat min's me, Unc. Why don' you took ter some sittin' 
wuck like fishin' in de harbor ? You mought catch a lobster, 
or some oder fish." 

" De fish an' me 'ud bof be briled in dis yere sun 'fore we 
got home." 

" Dar, Unc, you wouldn't go to Heben 'less you was toted." 

" Ob cose not. Doan de Bible say de angels gwine ter 
tote us?" 

" Well, I s'pose dey is. — Ef a body ony know'd weder it 
ud be up or down." 

"Dar now, Aun' Sheba, wot fer you talk so se'rus in 
.Augst? Nex' winter we'se gwine ter hab a refreshin' from 
on high." 

" P'raps you won' lib till nex' winter, Unc." 

Uncle Sheba began to hitch uneasily, and remarked, " I 
doan see no use ob sech oncomf 'ble talk in de restin' time 
ob de yeah." 


Aun' Sheba soon forgot him in her unspoken thoughts of 
Ella and young Houghton. 

*- 1 begins ter unerstan' dat leetle gal now, an' all her 
goins on — puttin' awspice in de cake twice, an' sayin' quar 
tings. Well, well, I knows dey's all agin her, po' chile. 
Wot foohshness it all am ! I once jam my han' in de do', — 
s'pose I went on jamin' for eber. Der's no use ob der 
lookin' glum at me, fer dat young man's gwine ter hab all 
her cakes he wants. I won'er if Missy Mara got de same 
'plaint as Missy Ella. She bery deep, an' won' let on, eben 
ter her ole nuss. Pears ter me de cap'n's gittin' kin'er 
lop-sided toward her, but I don' belibe dat'll wuck." 

Ella was both gladdened and saddened by her visit. 
Houghton's buying her cake was one of those little homely 
facts on which love delights to dwell ; for the heart instinc- 
tively knows that genuine love permeates the whole being, 
prompting to thoughtfulness in small matters which indiffer- 
ence overlooks. She could not but be glad that he had 
seemed to have " on'y you on his min' ; " and then she 
grieved that all which was coming about so naturally, like a 
spring growth, should have been harshly smitten by the 
black frost of prejudice and hate. 

After an early dinner that evening her father asked her 
kindly to go with him and Mara to the Battery ; but she 
declined, saying she would rather keep Mrs. Bodine com- 
pany. He did not urge her; and he had been so pre- 
occupied by his thoughts as not to observe that she was 
pale and dejected, in spite of her efforts to appear as 

When alone Mrs. Bodine said, " You should have gone, 
Ella. You need the fresh cool air from the water. Why 
didn't you go? " 

" Oh ! " said the girl, in assumed lightness of tone, " three 
is sometimes a crowd." 


"You shouldn't feel that way, Ella. You would never 
be a crowd." 

"You are forgetting your old experiences, Cousin Sophy," 

" No, I'm not. So you see whither affairs are tending? " 

" O cousin ! Am I a bat? " 

" I hope you are not averse." 

" No, Cousin Sophy, I would do any thing, and suffer 
much, to make papa happy. You know how I love Mara, 
though we disagree on many points ; and if she and papa 
would be happier — Oh ! why can't I be happy too? " and 
she gave way to a tempest of sobs. 

" We all wish you to be happy, Ella," said Mrs. Bodine 

"Yes, in your own way," she replied brokenly. "What 
happened before I was born must be considered first. If 
love is sweet to papa at his age think what it is to me ? " 

" You must not imagine, Ella dear, that we don't feel with 
you and for you. I am proud of you as I watch your brave 
fight in which you will conquer." 

" Why should I conquer when my heart tells me that the 
one I love is worthy of my love ? It hurts me, it wounds 
my very soul, that he and I should be spoken to as if we 
had committed a crime. How could my love be so sacred 
and heavenly if it were wrong? Oh, how I hate, hate ! 
There is nothing sojiateful as hate." 

" But, Ella, you don't consider all " — 

"There is no need of considering all, Cousin Sophy. 
There are some things which stand out so clearly that all 
else is insignificant. Mr. Houghton hates papa and me. 
Does papa love him or his son? You know me, faulty, 
foolish little girl that I am ; but think of that man raging at 
his son because he dared to love me ! If George had 
committed a crime his father would have spent a fortune 
in defending him. To love me was worse than a crime. 


He would have been turned into the streets. Oh, it's all 
so unjust, it's all the spawn of hate ! " 

Mrs. Bodine was aghast at the intensity of the girl's feel- 
ings, but could only say, " Well, Ella dear, since things are 
as they are you must fight it out. Trust the experience of 
an old woman. Marriages in the face of such bitter oppo- 
sition are rarely happy." 

" Yes, the bitterness must be sacredly cherished, whatever 
else is lost. Oh, I know. Cousin Sophy, I know, I must 
fight it out, if it takes my lifetime, and all the while know 
that God would bless our love if hate hadn't blighted it." 




GEORGE HOUGHTON took to the mountain solitudes 
a better and purer spirit than Clancy, who was so ready- 
to be consoled by ambition and the fascinations of a woman 
incapable of evoking the best in his nature. The young 
fellow did fish and hunt with tireless energy, and many a 
humble cabin was stocked with provisions by his exertions. 
Believing that not only Bodine, but also that Ella herself, 
would have nothing to do with him, his affectionate nature 
turned to his father. With a large charity he tried to forget 
the stern words which had sorely wounded him, and only to 
remember the influences on his father's life which had led 
to their utterance. He recalled the abundant proofs of his 
kindness and liberality ; and, now that his young dream was 
over, he purposed to carry out the old man's schemes as 
best he could. 

He tired himself out through the long hot days, and slept 
at night from exhaustion. The time thus passed until he 
felt that he had the strength to return to the city, and act 
as if Ella did not dwell there. He also thought of his 
father's need of help, and regretted that he had remained 
away so long. 

The old man looked at him keenly when he returned, 
seeing that the young face had grown older by years, and 
that steadiness of purpose and resolution were in its every 
bronzed line. 


" It's all right, father," George replied to the questioning 
glance. " I've come back to carry out your wishes." 

" Ah, my boy ! now I know that you are made of the same 
stuff as your brother. Well, you won't be sorry." 

" I wish to leave this town, and I wish you would too. I 
don't think it's good for you to be here." 

'' I'll think of it, George. I have thought of it. I 
shouldn't be muHsh since you are not." 

" I'm glad you feel so about leaving, father. Go back 
with me to your old congenial friends and surroundings. 
I, for one, don't wish to stay where I am ostracized." 

" Oh, curse the rebels ! I've punished them ! I've pun- 
ished them well !" 

" I don't wish to punish them ; but, since they will have 
nothing to do with me, a decent self-respect leads me to go 
where I can be treated according to my behavior." 

" I know you can't feel as I do. All I ask is that you 
have nothing to do with them." 

For the next few days, regardless of the heat, George 
toiled early and late in his father's office, incited by the hope 
of soon taking the old man away on a visit to the more 
bracing climate of the North. In the evenings he refreshed 
himself by a long swim in the harbor, and by sailing his boat 
over its waters. 

One evening, while enjoying the latter favorite pastime in 
the early twilight, it so happened that he caught sight, in a 
passing boat, of a group which made his heart throb quickly. 
In the stern sat Captain Bodine steering the vessel towards 
the city. Ella was near him, and two ladies whom he did 
not know. As a hunter his eyes were keen, and he was satis- 
fied that he had not been recognized. He could not resist 
the temptation to get a better view of Ella, and, drawing his 
hat over his eyes, he began to manoeuvre his boat so as to 
accomplish his purpose. 


His little craft skimmed here and there so swiftly, as he 
tacked, that Ella at last began to watch it with a pleased 
yet languid interest, remarking, "That boat yonder tacks 
about and sails as if it were alive." 

" Yah, yah, so 'tis alibe," said the negro owner of the 
craft which Bodine had hired for their excursion. " Young 
Marse Houghton sail dat boat, an' he beats any duck dat 
eber swum." 

Ella's breath came quick, and she turned pale and red in 
her conflicting feelings, for it was evident that Houghton 
was purposely keeping near to them. She saw the frown 
on her father's face, and that Mara's expression was grave. 
Mrs. Hunter indignantly said, " He had better go on and 
mind his own business. Why should old Houghton's son be 
hovering around us like a hawk, I'd like to know? " 

"The harbor is as free to him as to us," Ella answered 

Mrs. Hunter pursed her lips and looked unutterable 
things at the girl, but she regarded neither the matron's 
sour expression nor her father's stern glance, for her eyes 
were fascinated and held by the vessel which sped along 
the water like a white-winged gull. No one except Ella 
and the colored man continued the observance of Hough- 
ton. The girl was in a perverse mood, and watched until 
her father rebukingly spoke her name ; then she turned away. 

Meanwhile George gazed wistfully at one whom he be- 
lieved that he might never see again ; for he and his father 
were almost ready for their visit North, where the young 
man was to remain. Then he saw her steady gaze in his 
direction. Could she have recognized him ? Did she con- 
tinue to watch him because of some faint interest? His 
pulses quickened at the thought. After a few moments he 
said bitterly, " Yes, she knows me at last, and turns away. 
Very well, away go I, then." 


At this moment he caught a ghmpse of the western sky, 
and his sailor instincts were alarmed. There was a single 
dark cloud rising rapidly, portending not a storm, but 
sudden, violent gusts. In the gathering gloom all thought 
of vanishing was abandoned. No matter how Ella regarded 
him, he would not be far away while there was a shadow of 
danger to her. Examining his sail carefully he knew he 
could drop it to the point of safety at a moment's notice. 

The wind on which he had been sailing died out. Then 
came litde puffs from the west. To catch these the colored 
skipper of the captain's boat took the helm and tacked, 
presenting a broad surface of sail to their force. Houghton 
tacked also in the same direction, but with his eye on the 
westward water, and his hand on the rope which would 
bring down his sail with a run. He speedily had need of 
this caution. There was a distant roar, the water shoreward 
darkened, and then, as his sail came down and the prow 
of his boat went round to the gust, he was enveloped in a 
cloud of spray. At the same instant shrill screams of women 
and the hoarse cries of men came from Bodine's vessel. 

The fury of the first gust passed quickly. When the at- 
mosphere cleared a little, Houghton saw that the mast of the 
other craft had broken, and, with the sail, lay over on the 
leeward side. He instantly knew that the occupants were 
in imminent danger. Raising his sail as high as he dared, 
he tacked towards them with such nice judgment that if he 
kept on he would pass a little abaft of the disabled vessel, 

"O Marse Houghton! come quick," yelled the negro. 
" She'm won' float anoder minit ! " 

" Bail, you lubber ! " 

" Dun got notin to bail wid ! " 

" As usual," growled Houghton. 

All the rest were now silent. In his agonized apprehen- 
sion for Mara and Ella, Bodine felt his heart beat as it had 


never done in the bloodiest battle. His careless boatman 
had not recognized the danger since the cloud was so com- 
paratively small, and when he sought to lower the sail some- 
thing was out of gear and it stuck. The gust struck it 
fairly, and would have capsized the boat had not the mast 
broken. As it was, the vessel so careened as to ship a 
dangerous quantity of water, which was rapidly increased by 
every wave that broke over the sides. 

Mara and Mrs. Hunter were pallid indeed, but calm in 
woman's patient fortitude, remembering, too, even in that 
awful moment, that if they escaped they would owe their 
lives to one whom they regarded with scorn and hostility. 
Ella's hope buoyed her spirit, although she felt herself 
sinking deeper every moment in the cold waters. With 
love's confidence she believed that Houghton would be 
equal to the emergency, and his swiftly coming sail was like 
the white wings of an angel. Then for an instant she was 
perplexed and troubled, for he seemed to be steering as if 
to pass them, near, yet much too far. 

" She'm sinkin', she'm goin' un'er," the negro yelled. 

" Be ready, every one, to jump the moment I lay along- 
side," Houghton shouted. Then he luffed sharply to the 
wind, dropped his sail ; his light craft lost headway, and 
glided alongside of the sinking boat. 

" Now jump, all," he cried. 

The women and negro did so and were safe, but the crip- 
pled veteran failed, fell backwards, and would have dragged 
Ella, who held his hand, with him, had not Houghton broken 
her grasp. As quick as light he sprang into the vessel, now 
down to the water's edge, and fairly flung the captain into 
his own boat. As he did so the water-logged craft went 
down, and he with it. Ella shrieked and called his name 
imploringly. In the wild anguish of the moment she would 
have jumped overboard after him had she not been restrained. 


" Patience," cried her father, " he will rise in a moment." 

Houghton's little boat, now so heavily freighted, had al- 
most gone under in the suction. The negro, rendered half 
wild with terror, was bent only on saving his own life. He 
was scarcely in the boat before he had the oars in the row- 
locks, and began to pull for the shore. In their eager scan- 
ning of the dark water, Bodine and the others did not notice 
this at first, and when they did the negro was deaf to their 
expostulations and threats. The captain tried to reach him 
as he heaped maledictions on his head, but at that instant 
another squall swooped down, enshrouding them in spray, 
and nearly swamping their frail vessel. They sat silent and 
trembling, expecting Houghton's fate, but the gust passed 
finally, and the lights of the city gleamed out. 

" Now put about, you coward," thundered Bodine. 

" No, sah, neber," replied the negro ; " de boat swamp in 
two minit if I put 'bout in dis sea." 

The veteran began to crawl towards him to compel obedi- 
ence. The man shouted, " Stop dat ar. Ef you comes 
nigher I hit you wid'n oar. Bettah one drown dan we all 

Ella gave a despairing cry, and found oblivion in a death- 
like swoon. 

" Truly, Captain Bodine," said Mrs. Hunter sternly, " you 
must keep your senses. If the man is right, and we have 
every reason to believe he is, you must not throw away all 
our lives for the chance of saving one." 

Then she, with Mara, gave all her attention to Ella. 

The captain groaned aloud, " Would to God it had been 
me instead of him ! " Between his harrowing solicitude for 
Ella, and the awful belief that Houghton had given his life 
for him, he passed moments which whitened his hair. 

As they neared the landing the water grew stiller, and 
their progress more rapid. Assured of safety, the negro 


began to reason and apologize. " Mus' be reas'n'ble, boss," 
he said. " I dun declar ter you dat we'd all be at de bot- 
tom, feedin' fishes, if I'd dun wot you ax. Been no use 
nohow. Young Marse Houghton mus' got cotched in de 
riggin' or he'd come up an' holler. I couldn't dibe a'ter 'im 
in de dark, and in dat swashin' sea." 

" Stop your cursed croaking. If you had known how to 
manage your boat it wouldn't have happened." 

" I dun my bes', boss. S'pose I want ter lose my boat 
an' my hfe ? I'se jis' busted, an' I kin neber go out on de 
harbor agin widout fearin' I see young Marse Houghton's 
spook. I'se wus off dan you is, but I'se he'p you wen we 
gits asho', if you ain't 'tankerous." 

" Certainly you must help us," said Mrs. Hunter, decid- 
edly. " You must get men and a carriage. Captain Bodine 
has lost his crutches, and his daughter is in a swoon. If 
you help us I will testify that you did the best you could 
under the circumstances." 

" All right, missus. I kin swar dat it ud been death to 
hab dun any oder ting." 

The carriage was brought, and men lifted into it the 
unconscious girl and the almost equally helpless veteran. 
Then one mounted the box with the driver and another ran 
for a physician, who was directed to go to Mrs. Bodine's 
residence. The negro carefully moored Houghton's boat, 
feeling that there might be something propitiatory to the 
dreaded ghost in this act. He then hastened to his humble 
cabin, and filled the ears of his family and neighbors with 
lamentations over the lost boat and lost man, and also with 
self-gratulations that he was alive to tell the story. 

On the way home, Mara took the stricken veteran's hand 
and said, " Captain, you must bear up under this. In no 
respect have you been to blame." 

" Nevertheless/' he replied, and there was almost desper- 


ation in his tone, " I feel that it will prove the most terrible 
misfortune of my life. Ella may never be herself again, and 
I have wronged one to whom I can never make reparation 
— a noble, generous boy who has taken a revenge like him- 
self, but which is scorching my very soul." 

" You are noble yourself, captain, or you wouldn't feel it 
so keenly," was the gentle reply. 

Mrs. Bodine, without waiting for explanations, peremp- 
torily ordered that Ella should be carried to her room. The 
veteran, using a second pair of crutches which he kept in 
reserve, went to the adjoining apartment, buried his face 
in his hands, and groaned audibly. He knew not how to 
perform one imperative and pressing duty, that of relating 
to Mr. Houghton what had happened. 

Aware of what was on his mind, Mara came to him and 
said, "I will go and tell his father." 

" God bless you, Mara, for the offer. I would rather face 
death than that old man, but it is my duty and I alone must 
do it. Hard as it is, it is not so terrible as the thought that 
the poor boy died for me and mine, and that I can never 
make the acknowledgment which his heroic self-sacrifice 
deserves. It would have been heroic in any man, but in him 
whom I had treated with such bitter scorn and enmity — 
How can I meet Ella's eyes again ! Oh, I fear, I fear all 
this will destroy her ! " 

" Courage, my friend," said Mara, putting her hand on 
his shoulder. " Ella will live to comfort you." 

" Mara, you will not fail me ? " 

" No, I will not fail you." 

He pressed her hand to his lips, and then she returned 
to Ella. 

Mrs. Hunter and old Hannah removed the poor girl's 
wet garments and applied restoratives. The invalid, whose 
strength and spirit rose with the emergency, directed their 


efforts, meantime listening to the fragmentary explanations 
which were possible at such a time. 

" O just God ! " she exclaimed, " we are punished, terri- 
bly punished for our thoughts and actions towards that poor 
boy. Ella, dear child, was right after all, and we all wrong. 
She might well love such a hero." 

At last Ella gave signs of returning consciousness. Mrs. 
Bodine hastened to the captain, and said, " Cousin Hugh, 
Ella is reviving. You must control yourself. Every thing 
depends on how we tide her over the next few hours." 

The length of the swoon revealed the force of the blow 
which the loving girl had received. Perhaps the long ob- 
livion was nature's kindly effort to ward off the crushing 
weight. Mrs. Bodine hung over her when she opened her 
eyes with a dazed expression. "There, Ella dear," she said, 
" don't worry. You'll soon be better. Take this," and she 
gave the girl a little brandy and water. 

The powerful stimulant acted speedily on an unvitiated 
system, and with returning strength memory recalled what 
had befallen the one she loved. From tears she passed to 
passionate sobs, writhing and moaning, as if the agony of 
her spirit had communicated itself to every fibre of her body. 

" Oh, Ella, darling, don't," cried her father. " I cannot 
endure this. He has conquered me utterly ; my prejudice 
is turned into homage. We will all love and revere his 
memory. Would to God it had been I instead of him ! " 

"There, Hugh, thank God," said Mrs. Bodine, "that Ella 
can weep. Such tears keep the heart from breaking." 

The old lady was right. Expression of her anguish brought 
alleviation, and there was also consolation in her father's 
words. The physician came, and his remedies also had 
their effect. 

There was nothing morbid or unhealthful in Ella's nature. 
With returning reason came also the influence of conscience 


and the sustaining power of a brave, unselfish spirit. Her 
father had put himself in accord with her feelings, and her 
heart began to go out towards him in tenderness and con- 
sideration, and she said brokenly, " Papa, I will rally. I will 
live for your sake, since you will let me love his memory." 

"You cannot love it or honor it more than I shall," he 
replied, in a voice choked with emotion. Then he took the 
physician into the adjoining room, to consult how best they 
might break the dreadful news to Mr. Houghton. 

At this moment the front door burst open, and hasty, 
uncertain steps were heard. 



A father's frenzy. 

MR. HOUGHTON knew that his son had gone out sail- 
ing in the harbor, and, when the gusts swept over the 
city, became very anxious about him. He was aware, how- 
ever, of George's good seamanship, and tried to allay his 
fears by thoughts of this nature. As time lapsed, anxiety 
passed into alarm and dread foreboding. At last he sum- 
moned his coachman, and determined to go to the place 
where his son moored his boat. As he was about to prepare 
himself for the street, there were two hasty rings of the door- 
bell. He sank into a chair, overcome by the awful fear 
which, for a moment, robbed him of strength. 

Now it had so happened that one of his younger clerks 
had been on the Battery when the rescued party reached it, 
and he had gathered Httle more from the colored boatman 
than that young Houghton had been drowned in saving 
Bodine and the ladies with him. His first impulse was to 
go to tell his employer, and he started to carry out this pur- 
pose. On his way he remembered that, in horror over the 
event, he had not stopped to ask fuller particulars, and he 
turned back to question the negro more fully. When he 
reached George's boat he found that the man had gone, and 
that the small crowd which had gathered had dispersed. 
With a heavy heart he again started for Mr. Houghton's resi- 
dence, regretting sadly that it was his duty to communicate 
the terrible news. His feelings increased to a nervous dread 


by the time he reached Mr. Houghton's door. He feared 
the stern old man, and beheved that he would always be 
associated with the tragedy, and so become abhorrent in the 
eyes of his employer. But, as the thing must be done, 
the sooner it was over the better. 

The colored waiter admitted the trembling form, and 
exclaimed, " O Lawd ! what happen?" 

" I wish to see Mr. Houghton." 

" Bring him up," shouted the old man hoarsely. " Well," 
he gasped as the clerk entered. 

" Mr. Houghton, I'm very sorry " — 

" For God's sake, out with it ! " 

" Well, sir, I fear Mr. George " — 

" Drowned !" shrieked the father. 

The young clerk was silent and appalled. 

" Oh, curse that harbor ! Curse that harbor ! " the old 
man groaned. 

"Perhaps, sir," faltered the clerk, "Mr. Bodine can" — 

" Bodine ! Bodine ! what in hell had he to do with it? " 

" I could not learn the particulars beyond that Mr. George 
was — was — in saving Mr. Bodine, his daughter, and two 
other ladies" — 

" Now may all the infernal powers blast that rebel ! " and 
the old man rushed down the stairway. 

The frightened clerk and waiter followed hastily, and 
restrained him as he was opening the front door. 

" Sir, dear sir, be patient " — 

"Now, Marse Houghton, wot you gwine ter do?" cried 
the negro. 

" I'm going straight to that damned Bodine." 

"Den, Marse Houghton, you mus ride. Sam's puttin' 
de bosses to de kerrige dis minit." 

Houghton instantly darted through the house and out to 
the stable. " Haste ! " he thundered, " haste, you snail ! " 


The waiter helped Sam, and in a moment or two the 
carriage rumbled away, the waiter on the box with the coach- 
man, and the clerk inside with the frenzied father. 

It was his steps which had startled Bodine and the 
physician, and they opened the door facing the landing as 
the old man came rushing up, crying hoarsely, " Where's 
my boy?" 

"Where I wish I was," replied Bodine gravely. 

The doctor was a strong and decided man. A glance 
showed him that Mr. Houghton was excited almost to the 
point of insanity. Seizing his hand the doctor drew the old 
man into the room, and with gentle force placed him in a 
chair. Never for a moment, however, did Mr. Houghton 
take his fiery eyes from Bodine, who, now that he was in 
the stress of the emergency, maintained his sad composure 
perfectly. Only a soldier whose nerves had been steeled in 
battle could have looked upon the half-demented man so 
quietly, for he presented a terrible spectacle. His white 
hair was dishevelled, and his eyes had the ferocity of a 
lioness robbed of her young. Foam gathered at his lips as 
he began again : — 

" Curse your ill-omened face ! Such men as you are 
worse than a pestilence. As a rebel was there not enough 
blood on your hands? He saved you, why couldn't you 
do something to save him? " 

" Mr. Houghton, I did try. I would have perilled even 
the lives of women." 

"You have virtually murdered him, sir. X>id you not 
say that if he had the trace of a gentleman in his anatomy 
he would leave you and yours alone ? He would rather 
drown than go ashore with you." 

Ella could not help hearing his loud, harsh words, and 
her long, waihng cry was their echo. 

At this instant Mrs. Bodine burst into the room, and her 


slender form seemed to dilate until a consciousness of her 
presence filled the apartment. Her face was more than 
stern. It wore the commanding expression of a high-born 
woman roused to the full extent of an unusually strong 
nature. Her dark eyes had an overmastering fire, and her 
withered cheeks were red with blood direct from her heart. 

" Listen to me, sir," she said imperiously, " and stop your 
raving. Do not forget for another instant that you are a 
man, and that there are women in this house whom you are 
wounding by your brutal words. You, yourself, in very truth 
will commit murder, if you do not become sane. Did you 
not hear that cry? fit response to language that is like a 
bludgeon. How are you worse off than I, who have lost 
husband, sons, all ? Have you not said to your boy as cruel 
things as Captain Bodine has said ? This son of yours was 
too noble, too generous, too lofty for either you or us to 
understand in our damnable prejudices and blind hate. 
Come with me," and, seizing his hand, she dragged him to 
where Ella lay, white as death. "There," she resumed in 
the same impetuous yet clear-cut tones, "is as pure and 
good a girl as ever God created. Was loving her a crime ? 
Go home, and ask God to forgive you, to take you where 
your son is in His good time. That poor child is the real 
victim. Unless you are mad indeed you will ask her for- 
giveness, and go quietly away." * 

The old man trembled like a leaf, swayed to and fro be- 
tween his fierce conflicting emotions, and then left the house 
as hastily as he had entered. As he did so, Ella called 
after him feebly, but her voice was unheard. 

The clerk and the colored waiter stood at the open door, 
and received Mr. Houghton's tottering form. " Home," he 

In renewed dread they bore him to his carriage, wliich 
Sam drove rapidly away. By, the time he reached his resi- 


dence he was in almost a fainting condition, and was carried 
to his bed. The waiter, who also acted in the capacity of 
valet at times, gave the old man stimulants, as he said to the 
clerk, " Go for Dr. Devoe : Sam dribe you. Bring 'im wid 
you quick." 

The old man at last lay still, breathing heavily, and half- 
consciously making an instinctive struggle for existence. 
The shock of his passion and the weight of an immeasur- 
able loss had been almost beyond endurance to a man of 
his age and of his volcanic nature. His physician was soon 
at his side, and, with some degree of success, put forth all 
his skill to rally his exhausted patient. He at last succeeded 
in producing a certain degree of lethargy, which, in benumb- 
ing the brain, brought respite from mental agony. 

The impression of Bodine and all the others with him 
that young Houghton had been drowned was natural and 
almost inevitable. They had seen him disappear beneath 
the water, and that was the last that was seen or heard. 
The boatman's explanation that the young man had become 
entangled in the rigging of the sunken vessel seemed the 
only way of accounting for the fact that he did not rise 
again and strike out for his own boat. The words of Mr. 
Houghton, recalling that final sentence of Bodine's, which 
had destroyed George's hope and made him feel that he 
could not approach Ella again, had greatly augmented the 
veteran's distress. The thought, once lodged, could not be 
banished that the youth, in his wounded pride, might have 
silently chosen to brave every danger in order to prove that 
he was a "gendeman," and that he would "leave them 
alone," even at the cost of his life. This result of his 
harsh words was crushing to Bodine, and to escape from its 
intolerable weight he tried to entertain the hope that George 
had found some way of attaining safety as yet unknown. 

The young man had not been drowned, although he had 


had an exceedingly narrow escape. It was not the rigging 
which so endangered his Hfe. As he rose towards the sur- 
face his head struck the pole with which the negro was 
accustomed to push his boat around in the shallow water, 
and the blow was so stunning that he did no more than in- 
stinctively cling to the object which had injured him. It sus- 
tained his weight, but, in the wind-lashed waves and darkness, 
he and his support were unseen. The tide was running out 
swiftly, and he and the pole had been swept well astern, 
while Bodine looked at the spot where they thought he had 
sunk, — a point from which the negro's frantic oar-strokes 
were rapidly taking them. 

Gradually George's clouded senses cleared, and at last 
he recalled all that had occurred ; far too late, however, for 
his voice to be heard. He shouted two or three times, but 
soon recognized that his cries were lost in the dashing 
waves and howling wind. So far from giving way to panic, 
he encouraged himself with the hope that his effort to rescue 
Ella and those with her had not been in vain. Pointing 
the pole towards the city lights, he tried to make progress 
by striking out with his feet, but was soon convinced that 
he was exhausting himself to little purpose, for both wind 
and tide were against him. He therefore let himself float, 
hoping to be picked up by some vessel, or, at the worst, to 
land at Fort Sumter, which he deemed to be the nearest 
point of safety. Before very long he heard the throbbing 
of a steamer's engine, and soon her lights pierced the 
gloom. To get near enough to make his condition known 
without being run down, was now his aim. She seemed to 
be coming directly towards him, and he thanked Heaven 
that the wind was dying out so that his voice might be heard. 

As soon as he thought the steamer was within hailing 
distance he began to shout, " Ship ahoy ! " No heed was 
given until the boat seemed to be almost upon him, and he 


swam, witli his pole, desperately to the left to avoid her. 
Then inflating his lungs he shouted, " Help, if you are men 
and not devils ! " 

" Hallo there ! Man overboard ? " 

" I should say so," thundered Houghton. " Slow up, and 
throw me a rope." 

The wheels were reversed at once. A man near the bow 
seized a coil of rope and yelled, "Where are you?" 

" Here ! " cried Houghton, splashing the water with his 

The rope flew with a boatman's aim ; George grasped it, 
and, with sailor-like dexterity, fastened the end around his 
body under his arms. Then laying hold of it also with 
his hands, he cried from the water almost under the wheel, 

In a moment or two he was on deck and besieged with 
questions. " Boat swamped in the squall," he replied briefly. 
" I kept afloat on a pole till you picked me up. There was 
another boat that I am anxious about. I'll go up in the 
pilot-house and keep a weather-eye open." 
" Well, you're a cool one," said the captain. 
"I've been in the water long enough to get cool. Would 
you mind lending me an overcoat or some wrap?" And 
he escaped from the gathering crowd to the pilot-house. 

The vessel proved to be a little steamer which plied 
between the islands down the harbor and the city. " That 
was young Houghton," said one of the passengers. 

" him ! " said another. " It's a pity he and his old 

money-griper of a dad are not both at the bottom." 

^Vrapped in the captain's great-coat, George was as com- 
fortable as his anxieties would permit. No sign of life was 
upon the dark waters. When the boat made her landing, 
he slipped out of his coat, leaped ashore, and, walking and 
running alternately, soon reached his father's house. 


Opening the door with his latch-key, he stumbled on 
Jube, the waiter, who backed away from him with some- 
thing like a yell of fear, beheving that his young master had 
come back in ghostly guise. 

" Shut up, you fool ! " said George sternly. " Don't you 
know me?" 

" O Lawd, Lawd ! you ain't a spook, Marse George? " 

" I'll box your ears in a way that will convince you " — 

At this moment Dr. Devoe came hastily from the sick- 
room, and met George on the stairs. " Thank God ! " ex- 
claimed the physician, " you have escaped. Caution, now, 
caution. You must not show yourself to your father till I 
give permission." 

"Has he heard? Is he very ill?" George asked, in 
deep anxiety. 

" Yes, but he'll come through all right, now that you are 
alive. I've had to stupefy him partially. He was told that 
you had been drowned. Go change your clothes, and be 
ready when I want you. How did you escape? " 

" Picked up by the steamer ' Firefly.' Did they escape ? 
— I mean Mr. Bodine and his party." 

"Yes ; and, as far as I can make out, left you to drown." 

When the physician returned Mr. Houghton roused a 
litde, and asked, " What is the matter ? Is George ill ? " 

" No, he's better." 

The old man closed his eyes, and at last said dreamily, 
"Yes, he's better, better off in heaven." 

"Mr. Houghton," said the doctor kindly, "I've just 
heard that a man was picked up by the steamer running 
between the city and the islands. I don't give up hope 

" Hope ! hope ! Do you mean to say there is hope?" 

"I do. If you will be patient we will soon know. I 
have taken steps to find out speedily." 


*' O God, be merciful ! I don't see how I -can long sur- 
vive if he is dead," 

Jube, satisfied that George was in the flesh, followed him 
to his room, and aided him in exchanging his wet clothes 
for dry ones, meanwhile answering the young man's rapid 

Touched to the very soul by the account of his father's 
frantic grief, George's thoughts centred on him, but he 
asked, "What happened at Mr, Bodine's?" 

"Dunno, Marse George. Marse Houghton run up de 
stairs, an' dey took 'im in a room. Den I heerd loud 
talkin', an soon he come runnin' out all kin ob gone like, an 
he gasp, * Home,' We lif him in de kerrige, an Sam dribe 
as if de debil was arter 'im. Den we gits de doctor 

Having dressed, George opened his desk and wrote : — 

" Captain Bodine. 

'' Sir, — It may relieve you of some natural anxiety to learn that 
I escaped, and that I am well and at home. My father is very ill, 
and absolute quiet of mind and body is essential. 


Then he addressed a line to the editor of the daily 
paper : — 

" Rumors of an accident in the harbor and of my being drowned 
may reach you. This note is evidence that I am safe and well. I 
will esteem it a favor if no mention is made of the affair." 

Despatching Sam with these two missives, he held him- 
self in readiness for the summons to his father's bedside. 

Dr. Devoe, in his efforts to save his patient from any 
more nervous shocks, administered another sedative, and 
then talked quietly of the probability of George's escape. 

The old man's mind was far from clear, and in his half 


dreamy state was inclined to believe what was said to him. 
Then the physician pretended to hear the return of his 
messenger, and went out for a few moments. When he 
came back he saw Mr. Houghton's eyes dilating with fear 
and hope. 

"Take courage, my friend," he said. "Great joys are 
dangerous as well as great sorrows. You must be calm for 
your son's sake as well as for your own. He has escaped, 
as I told you he might, and will see you when you feel 
strong enough." 

" Now, now ! " 

A moment later the father's arms were about his boy. 
With gentle, soothing words and endearing terms George 
calmed the sobs of the aged man, whose stern eyes had 
been so unaccustomed to tears. At last he slept, holding 
his son's hand. 

The clerk was dismissed with cordial thanks ; George and 
the physician watched unweariedly, for the latter said that 
every thing depended on the patient's condition when he 




IN Mrs. Bodine's humbler home there was another patient 
who also had found such respite as anodynes can bring. 
Ella's fair face had become like the purest marble in its 
whiteness, but the hot tears had ceased to flow, and the 
bosom which had heaved convulsively with anguish was now 
so still that the girl scarcely seemed to breathe at all. Cap- 
tain Bodine, Mara, and old Hannah were the watchers. Mara 
now, for the first time, observed how white the veteran's iron- 
gray hair had become. He had grown old in a night, rather 
in an hour. The strong lines of his face were graven deep ; 
his troubled eyes were sunken, giving a peculiarly haggard 
expression to his countenance. 

Her heart was full of gentleness and sympathy towards 
him, and of this he was assured from time to time by her 
eloquent glances. 

Mrs. Bodine was being cared for by Mrs. Hunter, for she 
was ill in the re-action from her strong excitement and un- 
wonted exertion. 

But few hours had passed when there was a ring at the 
door. All except Ella looked at each other with starded 
eyes. What did this late summons portend ? Mara rose to 
go to the door, but with a silent gesture the captain restrained 
her and went down himself. 

" Who is this from? " he asked, as he took the letter from 


" Fum young Marse Houghton. He ain't drownd no 
mo'n I be." 

" Thank God ! " ejaculated Bodine, with such fervor that 
he was heard in the rooms above. 

" Yes," said Sam, " I reckon He de one ter t'ank." Sam 
had imbibed the impression that Bodine had left his young 
master to drown. 

"What is it?" whispered Mara over the banisters. 

" Young Houghton escaped, after all. — Here, my man, is 
a dollar. Wait a few minutes, for I may wish to send an 

The gas was burning dimly in the parlor. Turning it up, 
he read the brief missive, and recognized from its tone that 
the young man still had in mind the veteran's former attitude 
towards him. He sat down and wrote rapidly, — 

" Mr. George Houghton. 

" Honored Sir, — At this late hour, and with your coachman wait- 
ing, I must be brief. My term, ' Honored Sir,' is no empty phrase, 
for from the depths of my heart I do honor your heroic, generous risk 
of life for me and mine ; and my sentiments are shared by the ladies 
whom you rescued. I have been harsh and unjust to you, and I ask 
your forgiveness. You have conquered my prejudice utterly. Do 
not imagine that a Southern man and a Confederate soldier cannot 
appreciate such noble magnanimity. 

"Yours in eternal respect and gratitude, 


As he finished it Mara entered, and was astonished at his 
appearance. The haggard face, seamed with suffering, that 
she had looked upon but a few moments before, was transfig- 
ured. Anguish of soul was no longer expressed, but rather 
gladness, and the impress of those divine impulses which lead 
men to acknowledge their wrong and to make reparation. In 
the strong light his white hair was like a halo, and his lumi- 
nous eyes revealed the good and the spiritual in the man, as 


they are manifested only in the best and supreme moments 
of life. 

He handed Mara the letter. When she had read it she 
looked at him with tear-dimmed eyes, and said, " It is what 
I should have expected from you." 

After dismissing Sam he returned to the parlor, and, tak- 
ing the girl's hand again, began, " God bless you, Mara ! 
You have stood by me, you have sustained me, in the most 
terrible emergency of my life. There were features in this 
ordeal which it seemed impossible for me to endure, which 
I could not have endured but for your sympathy and the 
justice you have done me in your thoughts. O Mara, do not 
let me err again. You know I love you fondly, but your 
happiness must be first, now and always. In my wish to 
make you my wife, let me be sure that I am securing your 
happiness even more than my own." 

At that moment she was exalted by an enthusiasm felt to 
be divine. In her deep sympathy her heart was tender 
towards him. She had just seen him put his old proud 
self under his feet, as he acknowledged heroic action in one 
whom she had thought incapable of it. Could she fail this 
loved and honored friend, when a wronged Northern boy 
had counted his life as naught to save him ? 

Never had her spirit of self-sacrifice so asserted itself 
before. Indeed, it no longer seemed to be self-sacrifice, as 
she gave him her hand, and said, " Life offers me nothing 
better than to become your wife." 

He drew her close to his breast, but at this touch of her 
sacred person, something deep in her woman's nature shrunk 
and protested. Even at that moment she was compelled 
to learn that the heart is more potent than the mind, even 
though it be kindled by the strongest and most unselfish 
enthusiasm. Only the deep and subtile principle of love 
could have given to that embrace unalloyed repose. Never- 


theless she had said what she behaved true, " Life had 
nothing better for her." 

As Ella still slept quietly, Bodine insisted that Mara 
should retire, saying, " I and old Hannah can do all that is 

"But you need rest more than I," Mara protested. 

" No. Gladness has banished sleep from my eyes, and I 
must be at Ella's side when she wakes." 

Mara was glad to obey, for no divine exhilaration had 
come to her. She was not strong, and a re-action approach- 
ing exhaustion was setting in. 

In the dawn of the following day Ella began to stir 
uneasily in her sleep, to moan and sigh. Vaguely the 
unspent force of her grief was re-asserting itself, as the be- 
numbing effects of anodynes passed from her brain. Her 
father motioned Hannah to leave the apartment, and then 
took Ella's hand. At last she opened her eyes, and looked 
at him in a dazed, troubled way. " Oh ! " she moaned, 
" I've had such dreadful dreams. Have I been ill? " 

" Yes, Ella dear, very ill, but you are better now. The 
worst is well over." 

" Dear papa, have you been watching all night? " 

"That's a very little thing to do, Ella darling." 

She lay silent for a few moments, and then began to sob, 
" Oh, I remember all now. He's dead, dead, dead." 

" Ella," said her father gently, taking her hands from her 
face, " I do not believe he is dead. There is a report that 
he escaped, — that he was picked up by a steamer." 

She sat up instantly, as if all her strength had returned, 
and, with her blue eyes dilating through her tears, exclaimed, 
" O papa, don't keep me on the rack of suspense ! Give 
me life by telling me that he lives." 

"Yes, Ella, he is alive. He has written to me, and I 
have answered in the way that you would wish." 


She threw her arms about his neck in an embrace that 
was ahnost convulsive, and then sank back exhausted. 

" Now, Ella darling, for all our sakes you must keep 
quiet and composed ; " and he gave her a little of the strong 
nourishment which the physician had ordered. 

For a long time she lay still with a smile upon her hps. 
In her feebleness one happy thought sufficed, " He is not 
dead ! " 

At last a faint color stole into her cheeks, and she asked, 
"What did you write, papa?" 
. He repeated his letter almost verbatim. 

" That was enough, papa," she said with a sigh of rehef. 
" It was very noble in you to write in that way." 

" No, Ella, it was simple justice," 

She gave him a smile which warmed his heart. After a 
little while she again spoke. " Go and rest, papa. I feel 
that I can sleep again. Oh, thank God ! thank God ! His 
sun is rising on a new heaven and a new earth." 

Kissing her fondly, her father halted away. Old Hannah 
resumed her watch, but was soon relieved by Mara. 

When George read Captain Bodine's letter the night grew 
luminous about him. He had not expected any such ac- 
knowledgment. With characteristic modesty he had under- 
rated his own action, and he had not given Bodine credit 
for the degree of manhood possessed by him. Indeed, he 
had almost feared that both father and daughter might be 
embarrassed and burdened by a sense of obligation, whose 
only effect would be to make them miserable. Generous him- 
self, he was deeply touched by the proud man's absolute sur- 
render, and he at once appreciated the fine nature which 
had been revealed by the letter. 

" Now," he reasoned, " as far as her father is concerned, 
the way is open for me to seek Ella's love by patient and 
devoted attentions. I shall at last have the chance which 


was impossible when I could not approach her at all. After 
this experience I believe that my own dear father will be 
softened, and be led to see how much better are happiness 
and content than ambitious schemes." 

But Mr. Houghton was destined to disappoint his son. 
He awoke very feeble in body, and not very clear in mind. 
His one growing desire was to get away from Charleston. 
" I don't ever wish to look on that accursed harbor again," 
he repeated over and over. 

" We must humor him in every way possible," Dr. Devoe 
said to George, " and as soon as he is strong enough you 
must take him North." 

George's heart sank at these words, and at others which 
his father constantly reiterated. 

" I wish to get away from this city, George," he would 
say feebly. " I will go anywhere, only to be away from this 
town and its people. Oh, I've had such a warning ! This 
is no place for you or me. Its people are aliens. They 
destroyed one of my boys, and they have nearly cost you 
your life, as well as your happiness and success in life. Oh, 
that terrible old woman, with her tongue of fire ! She looked 
and talked like an accusing fiend. I want to go away from 
it all, and forget it all, — that such a place and people exist. 
Help me get strong, doctor, and then George and I will go, 
as Lot fled from Sodom." 

" Yes, Mr. Houghton," Dr. Devoe would answer, " all your 
wishes shall be carried out ; " and this assurance would pacify 
the old man for a time. 

When alone with George the physician would add, " You 
see how it is, my young friend. Your father is in such a 
feeble, wavering state of mind and body that we must make 
it all clear sailing for him. Even if he asks for what is 
impossible, we must appear to gratify him. Any thing which 
disturbs his mind will be injurious to his physical health." 


George could not but admit the truth of the doctor's 
words, and he manfully faced his duty, hoping that the 
future still had possibilities. 

After getting some much-needed sleep the day following 
his escape, he wrote : — 

" My dear Captain Bodine, — If I had known you better your letter 
would not have been such an agreeable surprise. Please do me the 
favor not to over-esthnate my effort for you and those with you, — an 
effort which any man would have made. That it was successful, is as 
much a cause for gratitude in my own case as in yours. Please pre- 
sent my compliments to the ladies, and express my hope that they 
suffered no ill effects from their hasty exchange of boats. I trust that 
the stupid boatman, who was to blame for your disaster, will not 
attempt to navigate any thing more complicated than a wheelbarrow 
hereafter. I regret to say that my father is still very ill, and that his 
physician enjoins the utmost care and quiet until he recovers from his 
nervous shock. With much respect, I am 

" Gratefully yours, 


When Ella's physician came the following day, he found 
his patient so much better that he could not account for it 
until he had heard the glad news. The healthful, elastic 
nature of the girl rallied swiftly. George's second letter 
was handed her to read, and she kept it. Being clever with 
her pencil, she made a ludicrous caricature of the colored 
boatman caught in a gale with a wheelbarrow. Her smile 
was glad now, for hope grew stronger every moment. Her 
right to love was now unquestioned, and even her proud 
father and cousin had only words of respect and admiration 
for the lover who, in a few brief moments, had vindicated 
the manhood which she had recognized in the first moments 
of their chance encounter. 

She could not believe that Mr. Houghton would remain 
obdurate when he r'ecovered sufficiently to think the matter 


over calmly. " Our papas," she thought, with a little sigh 
and a smile, " have learned that burying their children is a 
rather serious matter after all." 

When two or three days passed, however, and no further 
communication had been received from George, her father 
thought it \vise to say a few words of caution. " Ella," he 
began, " you are now strong enough to look at this matter 
in all its bearings. Young Mr. Houghton probably finds 
that his father is as adverse to his thoughts of you as ever. 
He has himself also had time for many second thoughts, 
and" — 

"Papa," said the girl, with a reproachful glance, "you 
have not yet learned to do George Houghton justice. At 
the same time I wish neither you nor any one else to give 
him the slightest hint of my feelings, nor to say any thing to 
him of my illness and what occurred in the boat. He asked 
permission to pay his addresses, and he's got to pay them, 
principal and interest, if I wait till I am as gray as you are. 
Dear papa, how you must have suffered ! To think that 
one's hair should turn white so soon ! Haven't I got a 
little gray, too? " 

She looked at herself in the mirror, but the late afternoon 
sun turned her light tresses, which she never could keep 
smooth, into an aureole of gold. 

Mr. Houghton rallied slowly, but grew calmer and more 
rational with time. He wished to see his confidential clerk 
on business, but Dr. Devoe said gently but firmly, " Not 
yet." He began to permit, however, a daily written state- 
ment from the office that all was going well. During this 
convalescence George felt that he must take no middle 
course. He resolved to have no further communication 
with Captain Bodine, and not to do any thing which, if it 
came to his father's knowledge, would retard his recovery. 
One thing, however, he was resolved upon. In carrying 


out his father's wishes he would draw the Hne at an ambi- 
tious aUiance at the North. " Since I have conquered Cap- 
tain Bodine," he muttered, with a little resolute nod of his 
head, " I will subdue my own paternal ancestor ; then the 
way will be open for a siege of the fair citadel, the peerless 
little baker. No wonder her cakes seemed all sugar and 
spice." Thus George often mused, complacently regardless 
of the incongruous terms bestowed upon Ella in his thoughts. 

Sometimes these reveries brought smiles to his face, and 
more than once he started and flushed as he observed his 
father looking at him searchingly yet wistfully. 

Meanwhile he scarcely left the old man night or day. 
He slept on a cot by his side, and at the slightest move- 
ment was awake, and ready to anticipate wishes before they 
could be spoken. On the last day of August his father was 
well enough to be up and dressed most of the forenoon. 

George began to read the beloved Boston papers, but 
Mr. Houghton soon said, "That will do, I'm in no mood 
for dog-day politics. Go off and amuse yourself, as long as 
you don't go near the harbor." 

" I've no wish to go out, father. ^Vllen the sun is low I'll 
take a tramp of a mile or two." 

" In a week or so more I think I'll be able to travel, 

" I hope so." 

" I fear you don't wish to leave Charleston." 

" I wish to do what is best for your health." 

Then a long silence followed, each busy with his own 

At last Mr. Houghton said, " It's strange we've heard noth- 
ing from those Bodines. They appear to accept their lives 
from your hand as a matter of course ; " and the old man 
watched the effect of these tentative words. 

George flushed, but said gently, " Dear father, try to be 


just, even in your enmities. I have heard from Captain 
Bodine, and " — 

" What ! have you been corresponding with them, and all 
that?" interrupted Mr. Houghton irritably. "Why didn't 
you tell me?" 

" I merely replied to Mr. Bodine's note the day after the 
accident. Since then I have not heard from any of the 
rescued party, nor have I made the slightest effort to do so. 
Dr. Devoe said you required quiet of body and mind, and I 
have not done any thing which would interfere with this." 

"Thank you, my boy, thank you heartily. I shall owe 
my life more to your faithful attendance than to Dr. Devoe." 

" I am glad to hear you say that, whether it is true or not. 
I wish you to live many years, and to take the rest to which 
a long and laborious life entitles you. I will show you 
Captain Bodine's letter if you wish." 

" Well, let me see what the rebel has to say for himself." 

" Humph ! " Mr. Houghton ejaculated, finishing the lettsr. 
"What did you say in reply?" 

George repeated the substance of his note. 

" And nothing has passed between him, his daughter, or 
you since?" 

" Nothing whatever." 

" I suppose by this time that little gust of passion, inspired 
by the daughter's pretty face, has passed?" and he looked 
at his son keenly. 

" It would have passed, father, if it had been only a gust 
of passion, and inspired merely by a pretty face." 

" Humph ! Do you mean to say that you love her still? " 

" I cannot control my heart, only my actions." 

"You will give her up then, since it is my wish?" 

" I cannot give up loving her, father. If I had drowned 
and gone to another world I feel that I would have carried 
my love with me." 


There was another long silence, and then Mr. Houghton 
said, " But you will control your action? " 

" My action, father, shall be guided by most considerate 
loyalty to you." 

" But you will not promise never to marry her? " 

" It is true, indeed, that I may never marry her, for I 
have no reason whatever to think that she cares for me in 
any such way as I do for her. As long as her father felt as 
he did, I could not approach her. As long as you feel 
as you do, I cannot seek her, but to give her up delib- 
erately would be doing violence to the best in my nature. 
I know my love is the same as that which you had for 
mother, and God would punish a man who tried to put his 
foot on such a love. I feel that it would keep me from the 
evil of the world." 

" The first thing you know, George, you will be wishing 
that I am dead." 

" No, father, no ! " his son cried impulsively. "You would 
do me wicked wrong in thinking that. A foolish, guilty pas- 
sion might probably lead to such thoughts, but not a pure, 
honest love, which prompts to duty in every relation in life. 
I can carry out your every plan for me without bolstering 
myself by marrying wealth and position. My self-respect 
revolts at the idea. A woman that I loved could aid me far 
more than the wealthiest and highest bom in the land. I 
believe that in time you will see these things as I cannot 
help seeing them. Until then I can be patient. I cer- 
tainly will not jeopardize your health by doing what is con- 
trary to your wishes. Don't you think we had better drop 
the subject for the present? " 

"Yes, I think we had," said Mr. Houghton sadly, but 
without any appearance of irritation. 




WITH the exception of Aun' Sheba's household, the 
final days of August were passing quietly and un- 
eventfully to the other characters of our story. Little Vilet 
had received something like a sunstroke, and she never 
rallied. Day and night she lay on her cot, usually wakeful, 
and always patient. It would seem that her vital forces 
were sapped, for she grew steadily weaker and thinner. 
Aun' Sheba did little else than wait on and watch her, 
except when Kern was home. When ofif duty at the fire 
department, he would permit no one else to do any thing 
for his child but himself. The little girl preferred his 
attendance even to that of her mother, and the strong man 
would carry her up and down his little yard in the cool 
night air by the hour, or rock her to sleep on his breast 
when the sun was high. No touch was so gentle as his, or 
so soothing. He would hush his great, mellow voice into 
soft, melodious tones as he sung her favorite hymns, and 
often her feeble treble would blend with his rich baritone. 
He yearned over her with inexpressible tenderness, count- 
ing the minutes when on duty till the hour came which 
permitted his return. 

In his agony of apprehension *' his flesh jes drap off 'n 
him," as Aun' Sheba and his wife said. He slept little and 
ate litde, but was always punctual at the engine-house to 
the minute. 

"VES, viLETr 337 

Mara and Ella visited the child daily, and tried to tempt 
her failing appetite with delicacies. Sissy, Vilet's mother, 
hovered about her child most of the time, when her house- 
keeping duties and the care of the other children permitted, 
but after all her chief solicitude centred in her husband. 
She and Aun' Sheba often said, " Kern, ef de Lawd wants 
her we mus jes gib her up. De Hebenly Fader hab de fust 

" I hab my feelins all de same," Kern would reply. " Ef 
de Lawd put sech feehns in my heart I can't help it." 

On the evening of the 31st of August, Vilet was very 
feeble. The closeness and heat oppressed her. All, except 
Uncle Sheba, made a poor pretence of supper. Nothing 
affected his appetite, and, having cleared the table, he went 
over to his own door-step and lighted his pipe. Before it 
was finished he was dozing comfortably against the door- 
case. Aun' Sheba, with a great sigh, lighted her pipe also, 
and sat down on the Watson steps with her daughter that 
they might breathe cooler air. Kern took up his little 
daughter, and began to walk in the yard and sing as usual. 

" Well," ejaculated Aun' Sheba, " Missy Mara's call yis- 
tidy 'heve my min' po'ful. I'se couldn't tromp de streets 
wid a basket now nohow. Missy Mara say she won' begin 
bakin' till I'm ready. She look too po'ly to tink ob it 
hersef. Lor ! what a narrow graze she an de res ob dem 
hab ! No won'er she all broken up. Dat awful 'scape 
keeps runnin ebin in my dreams. Bress de good Lawd dat 
brung Marse Houghton right dar in time ! " 

" Missy Ella an' Marse Houghton oughter hab dey own 
way now, shuah," Sissy remarked. 

" I reckon dey will," Aun' Sheba answered. " Missy Ella 
look kin'er dat-a-way. Dey was all agin her 'fore de ax'dent, 
but now I reckon dey's all cabed in, from what she says, 
eben ef she ain't talkin' much. I 'specs ole man Houghton 


is de mos' sot ; " and then their anxious thoughts reverted 
to the sick child. 

" Daddy," said Vilet, when her father had finished a hymn, 
" I wants ter talk wid you." 

"Well, chile, wot you wants ter say? " 

" I wants you ter let me go to Hebin, daddy." 

"I doesn't feel dat I kin spar' you, Vilet," and she felt his 
tears dropping on her cheeks. 

" Yes, daddy, you kin, fer a httle while. I'se gittin' so-o 
tired" and she sighed wearily, " an' you'se gittin' all worn 
out too." 

" No, deah chile, I'd ruder tote you all de res' ob my 
bawn days. I couldn't stan' comin' home an' not fin' you 
lookin' fer me nohow." 

Vilet thought a while in silence and then said, " Daddy, 
I'se keep a-lookin' fer you jes de same. I'se g\vine ter ax 
de good Lawd ter gib me a little place on de wall near de 
pearly gate, an' dar I'se watch an' wait till you come, an' 
moder, an' granny all come. I kin watch bettah up dar, 
fer I won' be so bery, bery tired. Won' you let me go ? 
'Pears I couldn't go to Hebin widout you says, ' Yes, Vilet.' " 

The man's powerful frame trembled like an aspen ; con- 
vulsive sobs heaved his breast as he carried the child to the 
farther comer of the yard. At last he buried his face in 
her neck and whispered, " Yes, Vilet." 

" Dat's good an' kin' ob you, daddy. You fin' me waitin' 
and lookin' fer you, shuah." 

Kern grew calm after his mighty struggle, and, in his 
simple faith, believed that angels were around him, ready to 
take his child when he should lay her down. He began 
to sing again, and, a litde before nine o'clock, repaired to 
his post of duty. 

As the days passed without any further communication 
from Houghton whatever, Ella's first glow of hope began to 

"y£s, viLETr 339 

pale. She tried to banish all other thoughts except that Mr. 
Houghton was very ill or as obdurate as ever. On the last 
day of August, however, she heard a rumor that the invalid 
was better, and that his son was soon to take him North. 
'i1ien her faith began to falter. If George should go away 
without seeing her, without a word or a line, what must she 
tliink ? The tears would come at this possibility. She had 
noted that her father and cousin had ceased to speak of him, 
and that their bearing towards her was very gende, giving 
her the impression of that deep yet delicate sympathy which 
is felt for one destined to pass through a very painful ordeal. 

On the evening of this miserable day she yielded, for the 
first time, to great dejection, and was about to retire to her 
room early when Mrs. Bodine said kindly, " Don't go away, 
Ella. I feel strangely oppressed, as if I could scarcely 

" I feel oppressed too, Cousin Sophy." 

" Yes, dear child, I know you are grieving. I wish I could 
help you." 

" O Cousin Sophy, it would be so much harder to bear 
now ! He looked so grand as he loomed up in the gloom 
of that terrible night ! His eyes seemed Uke living coals ; 
his action was swift and decided, showing that his mind was 
as clear as his courage was high. He seemed to take in 
every thing at a glance, and in breaking my hold of papa's 
hand he almost the same as saved my life twice. And then 
his leap into the sinking boat, and the almost giant strength 
with which he flung papa into his own ! — oh, I see it all so 
often, and my heart always seems to go down with him when, 
in fancy, I see him sink. It was all so heroic, so in accord 
with my ideal of a man ! Why, Cousin Sophy, he was so 
sensible about it all ! He did just the right thing and the 
only thing that could be done, except that horrid sinking. 
I can't help feeling that if he had got into the boat with us 


all would have come about right. Oh, that stupid, cowardly 
negro boatman ! Well, well, somehow I fear to-night that 
I've only been saved to suffer a heartache all my life." 

" I hope not, Ella dear. I cannot think so. God rarely 
permits to any life either unalloyed suffering or happiness." 

" There, Cousin Sophy, I'm forgetting that you are suffer- 
ing now. I'll put on my wrapper, and then fan you till 
you get asleep." 

The captain meantime was solacing himself with thoughts 
of Mara, — thoughts not wholly devoid of anxiety, for she 
appeared to be growing thin and losing strength in spite of 
her assurances to the contrary. 

Mr. Houghton had not been so well in the afternoon and 
evening, and George did not leave him. As the evening 
advanced the sultriness increased. Since his father seemed 
quiet, and lay with his eyes closed, he installed Jube in his 
place with the fan, and went out into the open air. He 
found, with surprise, that he obtained scarcely any relief 
from the extreme closeness which had oppressed him in- 
doors. He threw off even the light coat he wore, and 
walked up and down the gravel roadway in his shirt-sleeves 
with the restlessness which great heat imparts to the full- 
blooded and strong. Sam sat near the barn-door, smoking 
his pipe. At last he said, " Marse George, 'spose I took 
out de bosses an let dem stan in de open." 

"What's the matter with them?" 

" Dunno, 'less it's de po'ful heat. Dey's bery oneasy." 

"All right. Tie them outside here." 

At this moment the watch-dog gave a long, piteous howl, 
and crept into his kennel. 

" That's queer," George remarked, "What's the matter 
with the dog?" 

" Pears as ebery ting's gettin quar dis ebnin," Sam replied, 
knocking the ashes from his pipe and rising. " You'se 

"VES, VILETr 341 

pinter dar's been kin ob scrugin up agin me, an he neber 
do dat befo'. Now he's right twixt you'se legs es if he was 
feerd on someting." 

George caressed the dog, and said, "What's up, old 
fellow?" and then was perplexed that, instead of answering 
him with wonted playfulness, the poor brute should begin 
to whine and yelp. The horses came out as if escaping 
from their stalls, but on reaching the door sniffed the air, 
stopped, and seemed reluctant to go farther. 

" Dey's eider gone crazy, or sump'n gwine ter happen," 
Sam affirmed, looking up and around uneasily. 

At this moment the pointer broke away from George's 
caressing hand, and with a howl such as he had never been 
heard to utter, slunk away and disappeared. 

" I declare, Sam, I don't know what to make of it all. 
The air is getting so hot and close that I can scarcely 

The horses now came out hastily, and began to snort and 
whinny. Then they put their heads over Sam's shoulder, 
with that instinct to seek human protection often noted in 
domestic animals. 

" Marse George, dey is sump'n gwine ter happen. See 
dese bosses yere ; see ole Brune dar. He darsn't stay in de 
ken'l an' he darsn't stay out. Heah how oder dogs is 
howlin. Dey is sump'n gwine ter — O good Lawd ! what's 

George's nerves were healthy and strong, but his hair 
rose on his head and his knees smote for a second as he 
heard what seemed a low, ominous roar. Having a con- 
fused impression that the sound came from the street he 
rushed towards it, but by the time he reached the front of 
the house the awful sound had grown into a thunder peal 
which was in the earth beneath and the air above. Obey- 
ing the impulse to reach his father, he sprung up the steps 


and dashed through the open door. As he did so the sohd 
mansion rocked Hke a skiff at sea ; the heavy portico under 
which he had just passed fell with a terrific crash ; all lights 
went out ; while he, stunned and bleeding from the falling 
plaster, clung desperately to the banisters, still seeking to 
reach his father. 




OWEN CLANCY was also leading a dual life, and when, 
at times, conscience compelled introspection, he was 
ill at ease, for he could not fail to recognize that his sinister 
side was gaining ascendancy. With a feeling bordering on 
recklessness he banished compunctions, and yielded him- 
self more completely to the inspiration of ambition and the 
fascinations of Miss Ainsley. It had become evident that 
Mara was either engaged to Bodine or soon would be, and 
the thought embittered and hardened his nature. He gave 
the day to business, and in the evening was rarely absent 
from Miss Ainsley's side. 

Mrs. Willoughby had invited a small whist party to meet 
at her house on the evening of the 31st, and Clancy of course 
was among the number. 

Before sitting down to their games there was some desul- 
tory conversation, of which young Houghton's exploit was 
the principal theme. Mrs. Willoughby was enthusiastic in 
his praise, and even the most prejudiced yielded assent to 
her words. Equally strong in their commendation were Miss 
Ainsley and Clancy, and the latter, who had called on Hough- 
ton, explained how admirably he had managed his boat in 
effecting the rescue, and related the incidents of his narrow 
escape. Although there had been no published record of 
the affair, the main particulars had become very generally 
known, and the tide of public favor was turning rapidly to- 


wards Houghton, for the act was one that would especially 
commend itself to a brave people. Of the secret and inner 
history, known only to herself, Mrs. Willoughby did not 
speak, and in all comment a sharp line of division was drawn 
between George and his father. 

Then conversation turned upon the slight earthquake 
tremor which had been experienced in Charleston and Sum- 
merville on the previous Friday. This phenomenon, scarcely 
noticed at the time and awakening no especial alarm, had 
been brought into greater prominence by the very serious 
disturbances in Greece on the following day, August 29, 
and some theories as to the causes were briefly and languidly 

Then Clancy remarked lightly, ''We had our share of 
disaster in the last August's cyclone. Lightning doesn't 
strike twice in the same place. The jar of Friday was 
only a little sympathetic symptom in old mother Earth, who, 
like other mothers and women in general, are said to be 
subject to nervous attacks. Suppose we settle down to our 

" Nervous attacks in mother Earth and mother Eve's 
daughters are serious affairs, I'd have you understand, Mr. 
Clancy," laughed Mrs. Willoughby. 

" And very mysterious," he added. " Who can account 
for either?" 

" There is no reason why they should be accounted for in 
our case," Miss Ainsley remarked. "Woman should always 
remain a mystery." 

"Yes, I suppose she must so remain in her deepest 
nature," he replied, sotto voce, " but is there any need for 
small secrecies?" 

" That question would have to be explained before I could 
answer it. Will you deal? " 

He was her partner. They played quietly for an hour, 


and then the wife of the gentleman opposed to them rose 
and said, '' The heat is so great I shall have to be excused ; " 
and, with her husband, she bade Mrs. Willoughby good- 

Clancy and Miss Ainsley repaired to the balcony, the 
latter taking her favorite seat, and leaning her head against 
the ivy-entwined pillar. She knew the advantages of this 
locality, for while she was hidden from the occupants of the 
parlor, the light shone through the open French windows in 
sufficient degree to reveal the graceful outlines of her per- 
son, which was draped as scantily on that hot night as fashion 

" How stifling the air is ! " she remarked. "I'm glad to 
escape from the lighted room, yet am surprised that we obtain 
so little relief out here." 

" It is strange," Clancy replied. " I scarcely remember 
such a sultry evening. From what I've read I should be 
inclined to think it was an earthquake atmosphere, or else 
that it portended a storm." 

" Now don't croak," she said. " The stars are shining, 
and there is no sign of a storm. You have already proved 
that an earthquake cannot occur. You know the old saying 
about worry over what never happens. The true way to 
enjoy life is to take the best you can get out of it each day 
as it comes. Don't you think so ? " 

"A very embarrassing question if I should answer it 
honestly," he replied, laughing. 

"How so?" Never had the brilliant fire in her eyes 
been so soft and alluring. She had detected a shght tremor 
in his voice, and had seen an answering fire in his eyes. 
Although conscious of a rising and delicious excitement i"n 
her own veins, she believed from much experience that 
in her perfect self-control she could prevent him from 
saying too much. Even if he did overstep the Hberal 


bounds which she was willing to accord, she thought, "I 
can rally him back into our old relations if I so wish." 

What she did wish, she scarcely knew herself, and the 
thought passed through her mind, " I may accept him after 

He shared her mood, with the exception that he had 
decided long since to obtain her hand if she was disposed 
to give it. To-night, more than ever, he felt the reckless- 
ness which had been growing upon him, and was inclined 
to follow her lead to the utmost, even warily to go beyond 
such encouragement as he might receive. He therefore 
replied vaguely, " One may wish the best in life, and not be 
able to obtain it." 

" I see nothing embarrassing in that commonplace re- 

" There might be in its application." 

" Possibly. Who knows to what one and one make two 
might lead? — a murder, like enough." 

" Sometimes one and one make one." 

'' How odd ! Still more so, that you should indulge in 
abstruse mathematics this hot night." 

"That reminds me that a man is said to be merely a 
vulgar fraction till he is married, when he is redeemed into 
a whole number." 

" If I were equal to it, I'd get a pencil, and preserve such 
great nuggets of abstract truth." 

" When you are so concretely and distractingly enchant- 
ing, what other refuge is there for a man than the abstract? " 

"Is the abstract a refuge?" she asked, looking dreamily 
out over the dark waters of the harbor. " Perhaps it is. 
It certainly suggests coolness which should be grateful 
to-night." Then turning, and with a mirthful and provok- 
ing gleam in her eyes, she remarked, " I should think this 
weather would be just to your taste." 


« Why SO ? " 

" Oh, you have become enough of a Yankee to guess." 

"Would you say that even this furnace-Uke air cannot 
quicken my blood? " 

" My friend, I do not believe that any thing could quicken 
your pulse one beat." 

"I'll demonstrate the contrary," he said, with a quick 
flash in his eyes. " Put your finger on my pulse." 

She laughingly did so. By a slight, quick movement he 
clasped her hand, and it appeared to him that the passion 
which he knew to be in his face was reflected in hers. She 
did not withdraw her hand. For an instant there was a 
subtile, swift interchange of thought. She saw he was about 
to speak plainly, passionately; she felt herself yielding as 
never before in all her experience. It was as if a wave of 
emotion was lifting and sweeping her away. He held her 
eyes ; a smile began to part her lips ; the thought came to 
him that words were not essential, that she was giving her- 
self to him through the agency of the brilliant eyes which at 
the first had awakened his wondering surmises. He gently 
drew her to her feet, and she did not resist. He bent 
towards her that he might look deeper into her rosy face, 
and felt her sweet breath coming quickly against his cheek. 
Then, as his lips parted to speak, a low, deep sound far to 
the south-east caught his attention.* Still clasping hands 
they faced it. With awful rapidity it approached, increas- 
ing, deepening, pervading the air to the sky, bellowing as 
if from the centre of the earth, filling their ears with its 
unutterable and penetrating power, and appalling their 
hearts by its supernatural weirdness. They shrunk before 
it down the balcony and through the window into the draw- 
ing-room, cowering, trembling, speechless. 

They were scarcely within the apartment before the large, 
substantial mansion rocked as if it had been a cork, and the 



'' GOD." 

HAD Mara's heart been hers to keep or to give when 
she met Bodine, she could easily have learned to love 
him for his own sake. Mrs. Bodine's impression was well 
founded, that Mara, unlike most girls, was suited to such an 
alliance. The trouble was, that, before Bodine became friend, 
then lover, she had given to Clancy what she could not recall, 
although she strove to do so with a will singularly resolute, 
and from the strongest convictions of hopeless discord 
between him and herself. With the purpose to make her 
father's friend happy was also blended the powerful motive 
to extricate herself. She had felt that she must tear up by 
the roots the affection which had been growing for years 
before she had recognized it, and at times, as we have 
seen, thought it was yielding to the unrelenting grasp of her 
will. Again, discouraged and appalled by its hold upon 
every fibre of her being, she would recognize how futile 
had been her efforts. She could not, like many others, 
divert her thoughts and pre-occupy her mind by various 
considerations apart from the truth that she had promised 
to marry a man whom she did not love. Although so 
warped, her nature was too simple, too concentrated, to 
permit any weak drifting towards events. She believed 
that her life had narrowed down to Bodine, and she had 
decided to become his devoted wife at every cost to herself. 
How great that cost would be she was learning sadly, day 

''Goor 351 

by day and hour by hour. As we know, she had permitted 
Bodine to learn her purpose at a time of excitement and 
enthusiasm, — at a time when his profound distress touched 
her deepest sympathies. She had also hoped, that, when 
the irrevocable words had been spoken on each side, the 
calm of fixed purpose and certainty would fall upon her 

She had been disappointed. She trembled with a strange 
dread whenever she recalled the moment when Bodine 
drew her to himself, conscious now of a truth, before 
unknown, that there was something in her nature not 
amenable to enthusiasm, spiritual exaltation, or her pas- 
sion for self-sacrifice, — something that would not shrink 
from death for his sake, yet which did shrink from his 
kisses upon her lips. 

Never had she suffered as during the last few days, for she 
was being taught by the inexorable logic of facts and events. 
In Ella's crystal nature she saw what her own love should be, 
and might have been. She had witnessed the girl's wild 
impulse to follow her lover to the depths of the harbor, and 
her own heart gave swift interpretation. She was alive 
because a Northern boy, deemed incapable of any thing 
better than selfish, reckless love-making, had unhesitatingly 
risked his hfe to save one who had spurned him. Even 
Mrs. Hunter's prejudice had been compelled to yield, and 
she to admit the young fellow's nobility, of which she was 
a living proof. The wretched thought haunted Mara that 
Owen Clancy, unblinded, had discovered for himself, what 
had been forced upon her, that there were Northern people 
with whom he could gladly affiliate. The shadow of death 
had not been so dark and baleful as the shadow of the past 
in which she so long had dwelt, for in the former there had 
been light enough to reveal the folly and injustice of indis- 
criminating prejudice and enmity. Worse than all these 


thoughts, piercing Hke shafts of Hght the darkness which 
had obscured her judgment, was the truth, upon which she 
could not reason, that she shrunk with an ever-increasing 
dread from words and acts of love unprompted by her 

Like a rock, however, amid all this chaos, — this breaking 
up of the old which left nothing stable in its place, — re- 
mained her purpose to go forward. On this evening which 
was to witness a wilder chaos than that of her long-repressed 
yet passionate heart, she had said sternly, " My word has 
been passed, my honor is involved, and he shall never learn 
that I have trembled and faltered." 

Mrs. Hunter had retired, overcome by the heat, and, 
believing that she could endure the sultriness better in the 
little parlor, Mara had turned down the gas, and was sitting 
by an open window. The city seemed singularly quiet. 
The street on which she dwelt contained a large population, 
yet the steps on the pavement were comparatively few. 
Her own languor was general, and people sought refuge in 
the seclusion and the undress permitted in their own homes. 

In a vague, half-conscious way she wondered that a large 
city could be so still at that hour. " Like myself," she mur- 
mured, " it is half shrouded in gloom and gives but slight 
hint of much that is hidden, that ever must be hidden. — I 
wonder where he is to-night. Oh, I've no right to think of 
him at all. Why can't I say, 'stop,' and end it? — this 
miserable stealing away of my thoughts until will, like a 
jailer, pursues and drags them back. Why should a presen- 
timent of danger to him weigh down my spirit to-night? 
What other peril can he be exposed to except that of mar- 
rying a beauty and an heiress ? Ah ! peril enough, if his 
heart shrinks like mine. Here, now, quit,'' and the word 
came sharply and angrily in her self-condemnation. 

Then in the silence began that distant groan of nature. 

''GODr 353 

It was so distinct, so unlike any thing she had ever heard in 
its horrible suggestion of all physical evil that she shrank 
from the window overwhelmed by a nameless dread. In- 
stinctively she turned up the gas, that she might not face 
the terror in darkness. As she did so she thought of the 
rush and roar of the last year's cyclone, but in the next 
breath learned that this was something infinitely worse — 
what, she was too confused and terrified to imagine. Then 
she was thrown to the floor. Raising herself partially on a 
chair she ^vitnessed an event which paralyzed her with hor- 
ror. The wall towards the street, with its mirror, pictures, 
windows, and all pertaining to it fell outward with a crash. 

For a second all was still, as she looked into the darkness 
which had swallowed up the front and sheltering side of her 
home. Then immediately about her began a wail of human 
anguish which grew in agonized intensity, gathering volume 
far and near until it became like the death-cry of a city. 
Unconsciously she was joining in it — that involuntary 
"<?/^-A," that crescendo tidal wave of sound sweeping up- 
ward from despairing humanity. Then this mighty and 
bitter cry seemed to become articulate in the word " God." 
With an instinct swift, inevitable, and irresistible as the 
power that had shaken the city, the thought of God as 
the only other power able to cope with the mysterious 
destroyer, entered into all hearts and found expression. 

Clouds of stifling, whitish-looking dust now came pouring 
into the unprotected apartment, obscuring the street and 
rendering dim even the familiar objects near the terrified 
girl. For a few moments the nervous shock was so great 
that Mara felt as if paralyzed. She remained lying on the 
floor, half supporting herself by the chair, waiting in breath- 
less expectation for she knew not what. The malign power 
had been so vast, and its work so swift, that even her fearless 
spirit was overwhelmed. 

354 ^-^^^ EARTH TREMBLED. 

The shrieks, groans, and prayers, the hurrying steps in 
the dust-clouded street at last forced upon her attention the 
fact that all were seeking to escape from the buildings. 
With difficulty she regained her feet and tottered to Mrs. 
Hunter's room, but found, to her dismay, that she could not 
open the door. She called and even shrieked, but there 
was no answer. A sense of utter desolation and helpless- 
ness overpowered her. Who could come to her aid? 
Bodine could not. At such a time he would be almost 
helpless himself, and there were women in his charge. 
With a bitterness also akin to the death, which she momen- 
tarily expected, she knew that her thoughts had flown to 
Clancy and to no other human being at that hour. She was 
learning what all others discovered in the stress of the 
earthquake, that every thing not absolutely essential to life 
and soul was swept away and almost forgotten. 

To go into the street and get help seemed her only 
resource, and she made her way down the stairs to where 
had been the doorway. In vain she appealed to the flying 
forms. Her cries were unheard in the awful din of shrieks, 
prayers, groans, and calls of the separated to their friends. 
The impression made was of a wild panic in which the 
frenzied thought of flight, escape, predominated. 

She was about to return in something like despair, feeling 
that she could not leave her aunt, when she saw a tall form 
rushing towards her. A second later she recognized Owen 
Clancy leaping over the ruins of her home. With a cry, 
she fell into his outstretched arms, faint, trembling, yet Avith 
a sense of refuge, a thrill of exquisite joy before unknown 
in all her life. 

"Mara, dear Mara, you are not hurt?" he asked breath- 

" No, oh, thank God, you have come ! " 

Again there was the same ominous growl, deep in the 

"GO or 355 

earth, which once heard could never be mistaken, never 
forgotten. Lifting her up Clancy carried her swiftly from 
beneath the shattered buildings to the middle of the street. 
She clung to him almost convulsively as the earth again 
swayed and trembled beneath them, and the awful moan 
of nature swelled, then died away in the distance. There 
was an instant of agonized, breathless suspense, then the 
wail of the stricken city rose again with a deeper accent of 
terror, a more passionate appeal to heaven, and the effort 
to escape to the wider spaces was renewed in a more head- 
long flight. 

" Mara," said Clancy, " at this hour, when every thing 
may be swept away in a moment, there is nothing left for 
me but you and God. Will you trust me, and let me do 
my very best to save you? " 

" O Owen, Owen, God forgive me ! " She uttered the 
words like a despairing cry, then buried her face upon his 

With a dread greater than that inspired by the earth- 
quake he thought, " Is it too late ? Can she have married 
Bodine?" The anguish in her tone combined with her 
action had revealed both her love and its hopelessness. He 
said gently, yet firmly, "We must act now and quickly. 
Where is Mrs. Hunter? " 

Mara had apparently become speechless from grief. 
Without a word she turned swiftly, and taking his hand 
led him towards the ruined building. 

" No, stay here. It will not be safe for you to enter," 
and pushing her gently back he ran up the exposed stair- 
way, into the parlor, noticing with dismay the general wreck 
and the danger Mara had run. 

He found that Mara had followed him. " Oh, why will 
you come?" he exclaimed in deep anxiety. "Where is 
she? We must get away from all this." 


The sobbing girl could only point to Mrs. Hunter's door. 
Clancy tried it, but found it jammed, as were so many 
others that night, adding to the terror of imprisoned in- 
mates. With strength doubled by excitement he put his 
shoulder against the barrier and burst it open. A ghastly 
spectacle met their eyes. Mrs. Hunter lay senseless on her 
bed in her night-robe, which was stained with blood. She 
had evidently risen to a sitting posture on the first alarm, 
and then had been stunned and cut by the hurhng of some 
heavy object against her head and neck, the shattered 
mantel-clock on the bed beside her showing how the injury 
had been done. 

Mara's overwhelming distress ceased its expression at 
this new horror as she gasped, "Can she be dead?" 

"This is no place to discover," Clancy rephed, rolling 
the poor woman's form in a blanket. "Mara, dear, we 
must get away from this house. It may come down any 
moment. Snatch up wraps, clothing, all you can lay your 
hands upon, and come." 

Already he was staggering away with Mrs. Hunter in his 
arms. In a moment Mara did his bidding and followed. 
Slowly and with difficulty he made his way down the totter- 
ing, broken stairway, then across the prostrate wall to the 
centre of the street, now almost deserted. He looked anx- 
iously around, calculating that no building, if it fell, could 
reach them at that point, then laid his heavy burden down, 
and stood panting and recovering from his exertion. 

" I think we shall be as safe here as anywhere until we 
can reach one of the squares. Put your hand, Mara, over 
Mrs. Hunter's heart, and see if it is beating," 

" Yes, faintly." 

" Have you stimulants in the house ? Can you tell me 
where to find them? " 

" You shall not go back there : I will go." And, as if 

"GODr 357 

endowed with sudden access of strength, she sprung away. 
Putting his coat under Mrs. Hunter's head for a pillow 
he followed instantly. "Now why do you come?" she 

" Because I would rather die with you, Mara, than live 
safely without you." 

" Oh, for God's sake don't speak that way ! " she replied 
with a sob. " Here, I have it. Come away, quick." 

As she hastily sought to cross the ruins in the street she 
missed her footing, and would have fallen had not his ready 
arm encircled her and borne her to Mrs. Hunter's side. 

"Would to God I had heeded your warning, Owen," she 
moaned, as she sought to give her aunt some of the brandy, 
while he chafed the poor woman's wrists. 

" You are not married to Bodine ? " he asked, springing 
to his feet. 

"No, but I am pledged to him. I cannot break faith 
and live. You must be my protector in a double sense, 
protecting me against myself. As you are a Southern 
gentleman, help and shield me." 

" You ask what is next to impossible, Mara. I can only 
do my best for you." 

" Oh, how I have wronged you ! " 

" Not so greatly as I have wronged myself. I will tell 
you all some other time." 

" No, Owen, no. We must keep apart. We must, we 
must indeed. Oh, oh, it would have been better that I had 
died ! You must harden your face and heart against me, — 
that is the only way to help me now." 

" Never shall I harden my heart against you. Whatever 
comes I shall be your loyal friend." 

" Oh the cruelty of my fate, — to wrong two such men ! " 

" Bress de Lawd ! I'se fown you ; " and Aun' Sheba stood 
before them, panting and abounding in grateful ejaculations. 


"Aun' Sheba ! " cried Mara, throwing herself into the 
arms of her old nurse. " To think that you should come 
to me through all these dangers ! " 

" Wot else I do, honey lam ? You tink you kin be in 
trouble an' I ain't dar? Marse Clancy, my 'specs. Once 
1 tinks you a far-wedder frien', but I takes it back. Lawd, 
Lawd ! is de ole missus dun gone ? " 

" No, Aun' Sheba," said Clancy. " Help us revive her, 
and then help me carry her to a place of greater safety. 
You come like an angel of light." 

" I'se rudder hebby an' brack fer'n angel, but, like de 
angels, we'se all got ter do a heap ob totin' ter-night." 




WHEN George Houghton reached his father's room 
he heard Jube fairly howUng in the darkness, and 
the old man groaning heavily. 

" Father," cried the young man, " you are not hurt? " 

" O George, thank God, you have again escaped ! This 
is an earthquake, isn't it?" 

" It must be, and I must take you out to some open 
space at once. Jube, shut up, and keep your senses. If 
you don't help me I'll break your bones." 

Groping about he found a match and lighted a candle. 

"O George, you are hurt. Your face is covered with 
blood ! " cried Mr. Houghton. 

" Slight cuts only. Come, father, there may be another 
shock, and it will not be safe to dress you here. Let me 
wrap you in blankets, and then Jube and I will carry you 
to Marion Square. I will come back for your clothes." 

This they proceeded to do, Mr. Houghton meanwhile 
protesting, " No, George, you shall not come back." Then 
he asked a moment or two later, " Why do you take me 
out at the side door?" 

" It will be safer," George replied, not wishing to explain 
that the pillared and massive portico was in ruins. 

As they passed the front of the house, however, Jube 
groaned, " O Lawd ! de porch dun smashed ! " 

"This is awful, my boy!" ejaculated Mr. Houghton. 
" Oh, this dreadful city ! this dreadful city ! " 


"The worst is over, I think. Brace up, Jube. If you 
are so anxious to save your hfe, step hvely." 

"Jes heah de people holler," cried Jube, trembling so he 
could scarcely keep his hold, and he gave a loud, sympa- 
thetic yell himself. 

" Stop that," said George sternly. " O Dr. Devoe, I am 
so glad to see you," he added, as the physician came run- 
ning up. " You are a godsend." 

"I was passing near," explained the physician, "and, being 
a bachelor, can think of my patients first. Jube, if you yell 
again I'll cuff you. Be a man now and we'll all soon be 

They joined the throngs which were gathering on the 
square, and Mr. Houghton was tenderly placed upon the 
grass. " Doctor, you and Jube will stay with him while I 
get articles for his comfort ; " and before his father could 
again interpose George was off at full speed. 

" He will come out all right," said Dr. Devoe soothingly. 
" Never fear for George." 

But when the second roll of subterranean thunder was 
heard, and the cries and lamentations of the people were 
redoubled, the old man wrung his hands and groaned, " Oh, 
why did you let him go ? " After the quiver passed he sat 
up and strained his eyes in the direction from which he 
hoped again to see his son. The house was not far away, 
and George soon appeared staggering under a mattress, 
with bedding, clothing, and other articles essential to the 
comfort and safety of his father. Jube, under the doctor's 
assurances, was beginning to rally from his terror, and 
between them they speedily made the old man comfort- 

As George was arranging the pillows his father said, 
" God forgive me for being so obdurate, my boy. I know 
where your thoughts are. Go and help her if you can." 


With heartfelt murmured thanks the young man kissed 
his father, and bounded away. 

Ella Bodine and her father were truly in sore trouble. 
A few minutes before ten, Mrs. Bodine's dehcate and en- 
feebled organization succumbed to the heat and closeness 
of the air, and she suddenly swooned. Ella in alarm sum- 
moned her father and old Hannah, and all were engaged 
in applying restoratives when they too were appalled by the 
hideous sound which gave such brief and terrible warning 
of the disaster. The veteran, who sat by the bedside, 
chafing his cousin's wrists with spirits, barely had time to 
get on his crutches when he was thrown violently to the 
floor, while Ella, with a wild cry, fell across the bed. Then, 
in expectation of instant death, they listened with an awe 
too great for expression to the infernal uproar, the crash of 
falling objects, the groaning and grinding of the swaying 
house, and above all to the voice of the deep, subterranean 
power which appeared to be rending the earth. 

Most fortunately the gas was not extinguished, and when 
it was still again, Ella rushed to her father, and exclaimed 
as she helped him up, " O papa, what is this? " 

" De Jedgmen Day," said a quivering voice. 

Bodine's face was very white, but his iron nerves did not 
give way. "Ella," he said firmly, "you must keep calm 
and do as I say. It is an earthquake. Since the house 
stands we may hope to revive Cousin Sophy before taking 
her to the street. Come, Hannah, get up and do your 

From her sitting posture on the floor, the old woman only 
answered in a low terrified monotone, " De Jedgmen Day." 

" O papa, she's just crazed, and we must do every thing 
ourselves ; " and, Ella, with trembling hands and stifled sobs, 
began to aid her father. 

" Oh, hear those awful cries in the street," she said after 


a moment. " Don't you think we should try to take cousin 

" If I were not so helpless ! " Bodine groaned. " Hannah, 
wake up and help." 

" De Jedgmen Day," was the only response. 

" There is no use to look to her, papa. I'm strong. See, 
I can lift cousin, she is so light." 

" No, Ella, it might injure you for life. If we could only 
partially revive her, and she could help you a little — 
There may not be another shock." 

They worked on, growing more assured as the house 
remained quiet. Hannah was evidently crazed for the time 
being, for, deaf to all expostulations, she would not move, 
and kept repeating the terrible refrain. 

"O God ! " said Bodine in tones of the deepest distress, 
" to think that I cannot go to Mara ! " 

" Well, papa, you can't help it. Your duty is here. May 
God pity and save us all ! " 

At last the ominous rumble began again in the distance. 
Ella gave her father a startled look, and saw confirmation of 
her fear in his face. Old Hannah started up exclaiming, 
" De Lawd is comin' now shuah. I'se gwine ter meet Him," 
and she rushed away. 

With another wild cry Ella lifted the form of her cousin 
in her arms, and, with a strength created by the emergency, 
staggered down the stairs to the door. Then a man saw 
and relieved her of her burden. Bodine with difficulty tried 
to follow, but could not during the brief shock. When all 
was still again he threw the bedding over his shoulder, went 
down and speedily checked Ella's wild cries that he should 
not delay. 

The street was comparatively wide ; the houses were not 
high, and they found themselves in the midst of a group 
of refugees like themselves, — mothers sobbing over their 


babes, men caring for sick and fainting wives, and children 
standing by feeble and aged parents. Family servants 
crouched on the pavement beside their employers, and con- 
tinually gave utterance to ejaculatory prayers which found 
sympathetic echoes in the stoutest hearts. Many were 
coming and going. The place seemed a partial refuge, yet 
the proximity of houses led one group after another to seek 
the open squares. In many instances rare fortitude and 
calmness were displayed. Here, as elsewhere throughout 
the city, frail women, more often than strong men, were 
patient and resigned in their Christian faith. 

Ella supported Mrs. Bodine's head upon her lap, and 
others now aided in the effort to bring back consciousness. 
Fortunately, however, for the poor lady, she knew not what 
was passing. 

Suddenly the group parted to make way for a hatless, 
coadess man, whose face was terribly disfigured with blood 
and dust. Nevertheless Ella recognized him with the glad 
cry, " Mr. Houghton ! " 

" Thank Heaven you are safe ! " he gasped, panting heav- 
ily ; and he gave his hand to Mr. Bodine. 

" But you are injured," said the captain, in deep solicitude. 

" No, nothing worth mentioning ; merely cut and bruised. 
I came as soon as I had fixed my father safe in the square. 
I thought you might need help." 

" Mr, Houghton, you are overwhelming us " — 

" Please don't think and talk that way. God knows, a 
man should give help where it is most needed at such a time. 
This is Mrs. Bodine ? " 

" Yes, she fainted before the first shock. We have been 
unable to revive her. At the last shock my daughter carried 
her down." 

"Miss Bodine!" exclaimed George in surprise and ad- 


She gave him a swift glance through her tears, and then, 
dropping her eyes, resumed her efforts to revive her 

"You may well exclaim," said her father. " How she did 
it I do not know. Excitement gave strength, I suppose," 

" Every thing these kind friends and I can do for her 
seems useless," Ella faltered. 

" Let me get my wind a litth," said George eagerly, " and 
I will carry her to the square, where my father is. A good 
physician is with him." 

At this instant came a third and severer shock than the 
last, and with it the new terror which sickened the bravest. 
"O God," cried Ella, "will there be no respite?" Then 
observing for the first time the pillars of light and smoke 
rising at different points, she cried in still deeper fear, " O 
papa, can those be volcanic fires? " 

"No, no, my child." 

" I saw a fire kindling in a deserted house as I came," 
George added excitedly. "Truly, Captain Bodine, this is 
no place for your family ; or," turning to the groups near, 
" for you either, friends. Ah, see ! there is a house almost 
opposite beginning to burn. Come ; " and without further 
hesitation he lifted Mrs. Bodine and strode away. 

Not only Ella and her father followed, but also the others, 
those who were the strongest supporting the feeble and 

They had gone but litde way before Bodine said, " Ella, 
I must go and see if Mara has escaped. I cannot seek 
safety myself unless assured that she is safe." 

" O papa, it will be almost suicide for you to go through 
these streets alone." 

" Ella, there are some things so much worse than death. 
If you and cousin were alone I would not leave you, but 
with a strong helper and a physician in prospect I must go. 


How could I look Mara in the face again if I made no 
effort in her behalf? Explain to Mr. Houghton." 

He dropped behind, then turned up a side street and 
carefully yet quickly halted over and around the impediments 
strewn in the way. 

Aware of the danger of delay, George went forward with 
a rapid stride. " Can you keep up? " he asked. 

"Yes," Ella replied. 

" We must get by and beyond these higher buildings. I 
have the horrible dread that they may fall on you any 

"You never seem to think of yourself, Mr. Houghton." 

" I must now," he said after a moment or two. " Here 
is a comer at which we can rest, for there are no high build- 
ings near ; " and he sank on the ground with Mrs. Bodine 
still in his arms. 

" Oh, you are kiUing yourself! " she cried in deep distress. 

" Not at all, only resting. Where is your father? " 

Ella explained and revealed her fears. 

" I will go to his aid and Miss Wallingford's as soon as you 
and Mrs. Bodine are safe." 

" Mr. Houghton, how can I " — 

" By giving me the privilege of serving you, and by not 
making me miserable from seeing you burdened with a sense 
of obligation," he said quickly. "That is the one thing I 
have feared, — that you would be unhappy because it has 
been my good fortune, — oh, well, you understand." 

She did, better than he, for his swift coming to her aid 
had banished all doubt of him. 

"Please understand, then, that I gratefully and gladly 
accept your chivalrous help. Have I not seen it given to 
the old and feeble before ? Oh these heart-rending cries ! 
It seems to me that they will haunt me forever." 

" Please support Mrs. Bodine a moment. That is a 


woman's scream just beyond us. She is evidently injured, 
and probably held fast in the ruins." 

He ran to the spot, and found that a woman had been 
prostrated and partially buried by the bricks of a falling 
chimney. She had been unconscious for a time, but now, 
reviving, her agonized shrieks rose above the other cries. 
George spoke soothingly to her as he threw the bricks to 
right and left. She was evidently suffering the extremity 
of pain, for she again screamed and moaned in the most 
heart-rending way, although George lifted her as carefully as 
possible. Laying her down beside Mrs. Bodine he began in 
distressed perplexity, " What shall we do now ? We cannot 
leave her here." 

At this moment a group of negroes approached. One 
was carrying a little girl whom Ella immediately recognized 
as Vilet. Then she saw Sissy, the mother, carrying her 
youngest, and weeping hysterically, while the other children 
clung to her skirts. Uncle Sheba brought up the rear, fairly 
howling in his terror. The man carrying the child was Mr. 
Birdsall, who had called with old Tobe just before the first 
shock. The gray-wooled negro was walking beside his 
minister, uttering petitions and self-accusations. Old Tobe 
was comparatively alone in the world, without kith or kin. 
Mr. Birdsall, feeling that he owed almost an equal duty to 
his flock, had only stipulated that he should stop at his 
home for his wife and children. Happily they were un- 
harmed, and were able to follow unaided ; and so, like a 
good shepherd, he still carried the weakest of his lambs. 

Ella called to them, and they paused. George, ever 
prompt in action, saw that old Tobe and Uncle Sheba were 
able to do more than use their lungs, and he sprung forward 
to press them into his service. Tobe readily yielded, but 
Uncle Sheba would do nothing but howl. In his impa- 
tience George struck him a sharp blow across the mouth, 


exclaiming, "Stop your infernal noise. If you are strong 
enough to yell that way you can do something better. Stop, 
I say, or I'll be worse than two earthquakes ; " and he shook 
Uncle Sheba's howl into staccato and tremolo notes. 

"Dere am no use foolin wid dat niggah," said old 

" Howl, then, if you will, but help you shall ; " and taking 
him by his shoulder, George pushed him beside Tobe, made 
the two form a chair with their hands, and put the woman 
into it, with her arms about the neck of each. 

Taking up Mrs. Bodine he again went forward. The 
miserable little procession followed, Uncle Sheba mechanic- 
ally doing his part, at the same time continuing to make 
night hideous by the full use of a pair of lungs in which 
was no rheumatic weakness. Motion caused the wretched 
woman renewed agony, and her shrieks mingled with his 
stentorian cries. 

" Oh, this is horrible ! " Ella said at George's side. 

" It is indeed. Miss Bodine ; yet how glad I am that you 
have not been injured ! " 

" Oh, oh, I fear so greatly that my cousin will not live 
through this dreadful night; and my father, too, is facing 
unknown dangers ! " 

" This is an awful ill wind. Miss Bodine, but the fact that 
I can help you and yours gives me a deeper satisfaction 
than you can imagine." 

She could not trust herself to answer, therefore was silent, 
and his thought was, " I must go slower on that tack, and 
not so close to the wind." The forlorn company eventually 
reached the square, and made their way to the place where 
George had left his father. As the old man saw his son, 
and comprehended his mission of mercy as well as love, he 
murmured, " God forgive me that it should require an 
earthquake to teach how much better is his spirit than 


mine," and his heart grew as tender as a mother's towards 
his boy. 

Dr. Devoe, who was attending another patient not far 
away, came up hastily and eased the poor creature out of 
the negroes' hands to the ground. 

He gave her some of the wine George had brought for 
his father, saying as he did so, "Try to be calm, now, 
madam. I am a physician, and will do all I can for you." 

Mr. Houghton promptly sent Jube to the doctor with one 
of his pillows and part of his bedding, so the woman was 
made as comfortable as her condition permitted. 

George laid Mrs. Bodine on the grass, and then with the 
scanty bedding Ella had carried, aided in making a resting- 
place not far from his father. He next lifted Mrs. Bodine's 
head into the girl's lap, and was about to turn his attention 
to Uncle Sheba, but was anticipated. Two men had taken 
him by the shoulders, one of them saying, " If you don't 
keep still we'll tie you under the nearest building and leave 
you there," and they began to march him off. At this dire 
threat Uncle Sheba collapsed and fell to the ground, where 
he was left. 

Dr. Devoe divided his attention between the fatally in- 
jured woman and Mrs. Bodine, who under his remedies and 
the efforts of George and Ella soon revived. Mr. Hough- 
ton looked with wonder, pity, and some embarrassment at 
the small, frail form, and the white, thin face of one whom 
he had characterized as " that terrible old woman." She 
seemed scarcely a shadow of what she had been on that 
former night, more terrible even than this one to the then 
stricken father. Now the son whom he had thought dead 
had carried her to his side, and was bending over her. 

"Well, well," he muttered, "the ways of God are above 
and beyond me. I give up, I give up." 

Then his eyes rested on Ella. He saw a face which even 


the dust of the streets could not so begrime as to hide its 
sweetness or its tenderness, as, with deep soHcitude, she 
bent over her cousin. A conflagration raging near now 
began to flame so high that its hght flickered on the girl's 
face, etherealizing its beauty, and turning her fluffy hair to 
gold. She became like a vision to the old man, 'angelic, 
yet human in her natural sympathy. The thought would 
come, " I have fought like a demon to keep that face from 
bending over me in my feebleness and age. Truly God's 
ways are best." 

Ella had only glanced at his pale, rugged face with awe 
and dread, and then had given all her thoughts to her 

As the latter began to regain consciousness, she motioned 
George away, and with Dr. Devoe, sought to complete the 
work of restoration. To dazed looks and confused ques- 
tions she replied merely with soothing words until the doctor 
said kindly, but firmly, " Mrs. Bodine, you are now safe, 
and as comfortable as we can make you. Do not try to 
comprehend what has happened. There are so many worse 
off who need attention " — 

" There, there, doctor," Mrs. Bodine interrupted, with a 
flash of her old spirit, " no matter what's happened. I 
thank you for your attention. Please give it now to 

" Doctor," said George, " I fear the little colored girl 
who came in with us is dying." They went to the spot 
where Sissy was pillowing Vilet's head against her breast. 
The physician made a brief examination, and heard how a 
brick had fallen on the child as they were getting her out, 
then said, " I'm sorry I can do nothing but alleviate her 
pain a litde." 

Turning away promptly he began, " See here, Houghton, 
I must go to the nearest drug- store and help myself if no 


one's there. Will you come with me ? I shall need a lot 
of things, more than I can carry." 

" I can't," George replied, " but here is the man that will, 
I think ; " and he roused old Tobe who sat quietly near with 
his head buried in his hands. 

" Sartin. I do wot I kin while de can'el hole out to 
bum," Tobe assented rising. 

" That's right, my man, and you'll help other candles to 
hold out." 

" Doctor, understand me," explained George, " I must go 
and search for Captain Bodine, who is wandering on crutches 
about the city," and he hastened to say a word to his father. 

Ella saw him kneel by the old man, and then rise after a 
moment or two with such gladness in his face that even the 
blood and dust stains could not disguise it. Little wonder, 
for Mr. Houghton had said, " I'm conquered, George. I 
give all up, — all my ambitious dreams about you. What 
dreams they now seem ! This awful earthquake has shaken 
away every thing except life, and the love which makes life 
worth any thing. I've seen the girl, and I don't blame you. 
Go ahead." 

" Oh, thanks, thanks. You'll never be sorry ; but father, 
please don't say any thing to her about — about — Well, 
she don't know, and I must woo before I can hope to win." 

"You needn't worry about me. I'm old enough to be 
wary," and the old man could not repress a grim smile. 
Then he added, " George, for mercy's sake, try to get the 
blood and dust off your face, and find a coat. You look as 
if you had been through a prize-fight." 

George explained the quest he was about to enter upon, 
and promised caution. Then he approached Ella. " Miss 
Bodine," he said, " I will now search for your father till I 
find him." 

Again the girl could not trust herself to speak, but tears 


came into her eyes as she gave him her hand. He pressed 
it so hard as to leave a dehcious ache, and hastened 

"Good Lor! who was that awful-looking man?" Mrs. 
Bodine asked Ella. 

"George Houghton. He carried you from home here." 

" Lor ! Lor ! Saved my life as well as yours and Cousin 
Hugh's? " 

" Yes, and now he's going to help papa and Mara." 

" Well, well, we'll have to forgive him for being born 
North. Is that old " — 

Ella stopped her mouth with a kiss, and whispered. That 
is his father. Don't let us look at him. In fact, I'm afraid 
to — at least while he is so ill." 

"Well," ejaculated Mrs. Bodine, "if this earthquake does 
not cure him of his cussedness, I hope the Lord will take 
him to heaven." 

" He did not prevent George from coming to me, nor his 
going to papa's aid. He was kind, too, to that poor woman 
yonder. Oh, I'm so sorry for her, and I wish I could do 

" Perhaps you can. Go and see." 

" I've nothing to put under your head, cousin." 

" I'll put patience under it. That, I reckon, is all I have 
left now. Go, Ella, dear, I can't bear to hear her moan. 
I'm in no pain, and that wine has quite heartened me." 

Ella did as she was bidden. That Mr. Houghton was 
observant was quickly proved, for he said to Jube, " Take 
this pillow to that lady yonder. If she declines, say you 
have your orders, and leave it." 

Mrs. Bodine raised herself on her elbow and protested. 

" Madam," said Mr. Houghton, " do not deny a helpless 
man the privilege of doing a little for the comfort of others 
at a time like this." 


" But you have none left for yourself, sir," Mrs. Bodine 

" Madam, you can understand what a satisfaction that 
will be to me under the circumstances." 

Mrs. Bodine yielded and admitted to herself that she was 
much more comfortable. " I reckon the earthquake is do- 
ing him good," she thought, "and that the Lord better keep 
him here a while longer." 

"Can't you hft me up a httle?" gasped the injured 
woman to Ella. " Oh, how I suffer, suffer! " 

Ella sat, down beside her, and gently shifted the pillow 
so that it came under the wounded back, while the weary 
head rested against her bosom. 

" Ah ! " said the poor creature, " that's easier. I reckon 
I won't have to suffer much longer." 

Ella spoke soothingly and gently. Mr. Houghton, who 
could only hear the sweet tenderness of her tones, wiped 
tears from his eyes as he again murmured, " God forgive 
me, blind, obstinate old fool that I've been ! " 

The adjacent flames now lit up the entire scene, throwing 
their baleful light on such an assemblage as had never before 
gathered in this New World. 

The convulsion which threatened to raze every home in 
the city had certainly brought the people down to the same 
level. Both white and colored citizens were mingled to- 
gether on the square in a swiftly created democracy. Char- 
acter, the noble qualities of the soul, without regard to color 
or previous condition, now only gave distinction. 




THE efforts of Clancy and Mara combined with the 
vigorous and sensible ministrations of Aun' Sheba at 
last brought consciousness to Mrs. Hunter. Tearing up a 
Imen sheet they stanched and bound up her wounds, arid 
then Clancy said, " We must get her to one of the squares 
and under a physician's care as soon as possible." 

" My folks is gwine to Mar'on Squar, an' dar I promise 
ter come," said Aun' Sheba. " It's 'bout as nigh as any ob 

Mrs. Hunter looked at Clancy, and shrunk from him 
visibly. He said quickly, " Surely, Mrs. Hunter, all enmi- 
ties should be forgotten at this time, or at least put aside. 
We should leave this narrow side-street at once." 

"Aunty," said Mara gently, "Mr. Clancy has saved us 
both from destruction. For my sake and Aun' Sheba's as 
well as your own, you must let him do all in his power." 

The earthly, yet unearthly, rumble of another shock put 
an end to further hesitation. It would be long before the 
terror inspired by this phenomenon would cease to be over- 

Aun' Sheba lifted her arms imploringly to heaven, while 
the vivid consciousness of the direst peril known brought 
Mara and Clancy together again in an embrace that was the 
natural expression of the feeling that, if die they must, they 
would die together. With such black ruin about them, 


caused by one shock, the fear could not be combated that 
the next might end every thing. 

When the convulsion passed, Clancy and Aun' Sheta 
immediately formed a chair with their hands, and Mara 
helped Mrs. Hunter, now ready enough to escape by any 
means, to avail herself of it. They made their way with 
difficulty over the debris to King Street. Here they were 
obliged to pause and rest. No rest, however, did Clancy 
obtain, for a momentary glance revealed one of the awful 
phases of the disaster. Three or four doors above them, 
houses were burning from overturned and exploded lamps. 
Some of the shop-keepers were frantically endeavoring to 
save a few of their goods, often, in their excitement, carrying 
out the strangest and most valueless articles. Clancy's brief 
glance gave no heed to such efforts, but before he could 
turn away, a woman with a child in her arms came rushing 
from one of the burning houses. Her dress had touched 
the fire, and was beginning to burn. Clancy caught one 
of the blankets from Mara, and with it extinguished the 
flames, while Mara took the infant. The instant the babe 
was out of her arms the mother tried to break away and rush 
back, shrieking, " There's another ! there's another child ! " 

"Where?" cried Clancy, restraining her. 

" In the front room there." 

" Stay here, then," and he darted through the doorway, 
out of which the smoke was pouring as from a chimney. 

Mara and the mother looked after him in breathless and 
agonized suspense. The flames had burst suddenly into 
the apartment, and through the windows they could see him 
enter, snatch up the child, and disappear. But he did not 
come out of the street door as soon as they expected. 
They could endure waiting no longer. Both dashed into 
the smoke-clouded passage-way, and stumbled against Clancy 
where he had sunk down within a few steps of safety. 


The mother seized her child, while Mara, with a strength 
given by her heart, dragged the strangling man to the open 
air. By this time Aun' Sheba was at her side, and between 
them they carried him to the spot where Mrs. Hunter lay. 
Now that he could breathe he soon recovered; Mara's 
tender and imploring words being potent indeed in rallying 
him. His exposure to heat and smoke had been terrible, 
but fortunately very brief. 'He was soon on his feet, ex- 
claiming, " We must go on to Meeting Street, for there we 
shall have a better chance." 

Thither they made their way with other fugitives, Clancy 
and Aun' Sheba carrying Mrs. Hunter as before, Mara fol- 
lowing with the infant, and close beside her the grateful 
mother with the other child. 

Having reached a somewhat open space in the wider 
thoroughfare, the young man became satisfied that another 
mode of transportation must be found. Mrs. Hunter was 
too heavy for the primitive method adopted in the emer- 
gency. Aun' Sheba took the injured woman's head upon 
her lap while he rested and looked about for something like 
an army stretcher. Among the ruins he found one of the 
long wooden shutters which a jeweller had placed against 
his window hours before. Watches and gems gleamed in 
the light of kindling fires, and were within easy reach, but 
the most unscrupulous of thieves were honest that night. 
Clancy carried the shutter to Mrs. Hunter's side, and then 
watched for some man whom he could persuade into his 

The great thoroughfare was full of fugitives, and soon 
among them the mother recognized a man of her acquaint- 
ance, who took charge of her and the children. The 
majority, like Clancy, had been delayed by efforts in behalf 
of the sick or injured, and already had their hands full. 
Others were so dazed and horror-stricken that they moved 


about aimlessly, or sat upon the pavement, moaning and 
lamenting in despairing accents. It would appear as if the 
emergency developed the strength and the weakness of every 
mind. Some were evidently crazed. As Mara stood beside 
Mrs. Hunter to prevent the crowd from trampling upon her, 
she saw a half-dressed man, breaking his way through the 
throng. The maniac stopped before her, and for a moment 
fixed upon her wild, blood-shot eyes, then placed an infant 
in her arms, and with a yell bounded away. Mara, horror- 
stricken, saw that the child was dead, and that its neck was 
evidently broken. Clancy came up immediately, and taking 
the infant laid it down out of the central path, for all kept 
to the middle of the street. 

As he did so, he heard his name called by a voice he 
knew too well. The feeling it inspired compelled him again 
to recognize how false he had been to himself and also to 
Miss Ainsley, Her summons now brought the feeling that he 
too, like Mara, was bound, and he went instantly to her side. 

" Ah, you deserted me ! " she said bitterly. 

He silently pointed to Mrs. Hunter, who presented so 
sad a spectacle that even the exacting girl had no further 
words of reproach, but she glanced keenly at Mara. 

" We feared a tidal wave," Mr, Willoughby explained, 
" and so decided to seek the upper portion of the city." 

"Mrs. Willoughby, if you are able to walk," said Clancy, 
" your husband must aid me and Aun' Sheba in carrying 
Mrs. Hunter, who is very badly injured." 

"Oh, now that the first terrible shock to my nerves is 
over, I am as well able to take care of myself as any of 
you," replied the spirited little woman. 

"That's like you!" exclaimed Clancy heartily. Then 
turning, he said with emphasis, " Miss Ainsley, you see that 
a man's first duty to-night is to the injured and utterly 


" Forgive me," she replied in tones meant for his ear only, 
" I did not know you owed so much to Mrs. Hunter and 
her niece." 

" I shall owe my ser\'ices to every injured man and woman 
until all are rescued," was his quiet reply. Then he helped 
Mr, Willoughby place Mrs. Hunter on the improvised sup- 
port, and between them they bore her onward, the others 

Their progress was necessarily slow, for the street was 
encumbered not only with fugitives like themselves, but 
also with tangled telegraph-wires and all sorts of other 
impediments. Once they had to cower tremblingly under 
a tall building while a fire-engine thundered by, threatening 
to bring down upon them the shattered walls. As they 
resumed their slow and painful march Bodine met them, his 
glad, out-spoken greeting to Mara filling her heart with new 
grief and dismay, while it allayed the jealousy and bitterness 
of Miss Ainsley's wounded pride. 

The Northern girl had heard the report that Mara and 
the veteran were engaged, and here was confirmation. Mara 
inquired eagerly after Mrs. Bodine and Ella, then took her 
place at the captain's side, while Clancy moved on with set 
teeth and a desperate rallying of his physical powers, which 
he knew to be failing. 

Now that Ella was in the square, young Houghton was 
not so impetuous as to ignore the claims of nature or to be 
regardless of his outward appearance. He again returned 
to his home, and saw Sam kneeling and praying aloud near 
the bam, with the two horses standing beside him. 

" Sam, go to the square," he shouted. 

" Can't lebe dese hosses. Dey's bofe lookin' ter me, an' 
I'se prayin fer dem an us all." 

" No matter about the horses. The house is too near." 
Then he ventured into the butler's pantry, cleansed his face 


and the cuts and bruises about his head, snatched some 
food, and hastened away. He believed he had a hard night's 
work before him, and that he must maintain his strength. 
He had not gone very far down Meeting Street before he 
met the group accompanying Mrs. Hunter. With a glad cry 
he welcomed Mrs. Willoughby, and was about to take her 
hand when Clancy said, " Houghton, for God's sake, quick ! " 

George caught the end of the litter while Clancy reeled 
backward and would have fallen had not Mara, with a cry 
she could not repress, caught him in her arms and sunk with 
him to the pavement. He gasped a moment or two, then his 
eyes closed ; he became still and looked as if dead. 

Again the supremely dreaded subterranean rumble was 
heard. Mr. Willoughby shouted wildly, " Forward, quick ! 
We can't stay here under these buildings." He and Hough- 
ton went on with a rush, the rest following with loud cries, 
Miss Ainsley's piercing scream ringing out above all. She 
did not even look back at her prostrate suitor. 

Mara paid no heed to the passing shock, but with eyes 
full of anguish looked upon the white face in her lap. 

"Mara," said the deep voice of Bodine after the awful 
sound had passed. She started violently and began to 

" Mara, go with the others. I will stay with Mr. Clancy." 

She shook her head, but was speechless. 

He stood beside her, his face full of deep and perplexed 

At last she said hoarsely, "You go and bring aid. He 
saved aunty and me, and I cannot leave him." 

At this moment Aun' Sheba came running back, exclaim- 
ing, " Good Lawd forgib me dat I should leab my honey 
lam' ! My narbes all shook out ob jint like de houses, an' 
my legs run away wid me, dog gone 'em ! Day's brung me 
back howsomeber. Now, Missy Mara, gib him ter me j " 


and taking him under the arms she dragged him by the 
adjacent tall buildings. " Missy," she added, sinking down 
with her burden, " go on ter de squar wid Marse Bodine, an' 
tell dat ar young Houghton ter come quick, 'fore my legs 
run away wid me agin," 

"Both of you go to the square," commanded Bodine in 
the tone he would have used on the battle-field. " I will 
stay. There shall be no useless risk of hfe." 

Mara lifted her dark eyes to his face. Even at that 
moment he knew he should never forget their expression. 
" My friend," she said in low, agonized tones, " he may be 
dying, he may be dead. I can not, will not leave him." 

" No, he ain't dead," said Aun' Sheba, with her hand over 
Clancy's heart, "but seems purty nigh it. Him jes gone 
beyon his strengt. Ole missus po'ful heby ef she ain't fat 
like me. Tank de Lawd, I hasn't ter be toted ter-night. 
No one but Kern ud tote me. Po' Kern ! him heart jes 
break wen he know." 

Bodine stood guard silent and grim while Mara mechan- 
ically chafed one of Clancy's hands. She was now far 
beyond tears, far beyond any thing except the anguish de- 
picted in her face. In a confused way she felt that the 
terrible events of the night and her own heart had over- 
powered her ; and, with a half-despairing recklessness, she 
merely lived from moment to moment. 

The earthquake had ceased to have personal terrors for 
Bodine. He had faced death too often. Nevertheless a 
great fear oppressed him as he looked down upon the girl 
he loved. 

The square was not far away; Houghton and Mr. Wil- 
loughby came hastening back, and Clancy was soon added 
to the group of sufferers under Dr. Devoe's care. 

To Miss Ainsley's general disgust at a city in which she 
had been treated to such a rude and miserable experience, 


was added a little self-disgust that she had rushed away and 
left Clancy to his fate. She tried to satisfy herself by think- 
ing that he had acted in much the same way towards her, 
but it would not answer. Mrs. Hunter's blood-stained face, 
rendered tenfold more ghasdy by the light of the flames, was 
too strong refutation, and the fact that Mara had remained 
with Clancy had its sting. She saw Ella and many others 
ministering to the injured and feeble, and felt that she must 
redeem her character. When the unconscious man was 
brought in, therefore, she hastened forward to receive and 
in a measure claim him. 

Although mentally comparing her conduct with that of 
Mara, Houghton and Mr. Willoughby thought it was all 
right, put Clancy in her charge, and began to follow Dr. 
Devoe's directions. Mara gave the girl a look which brought 
a blush to her face, and then devoted herself to her aunt. 

Captain Bodine's first act was to speak gently and encour- 
agingly to his daughter and cousin, congratulating the latter 
on her recovery. 

"Yes, Hugh," said the old lady, " I'm safe, safer than I've 
been at other times in my life. This is but one more storm, 
and it is only driving me nearer the harbor. You look 
dreadfully ; you're worn out." 

" More by anxiety than exertion. It is awful to be so 
helpless at such a time." 

" Sit down here on the grass beside me. I want to talk. 
I may not have much more chance in this world, but feel 
sure that I shall do my share in the next. O Hugh, Hugh, 
we've all been shaken hke naughty children, and some of us 
may be the better and the wiser for it. If Ella and that 
gallant knight of hers survive, how happy they will be ! It 
makes me happy even to think of it, though for aught we 
know the earth may open and swallow us all within the next 
five minutes." 


" Yes, the dear child ! Thank God for her sake ! " 

" For your own too. There is Mara safe also. Poor Mrs. 
Hunter ! she looks death-like to me. You look awfully too. 
I never saw you so pale and haggard." 

" Cap'n Bodine, Marse Houghton send you dis," said Jube 
at his elbow, proffering a glass of wine. 

The captain turned his startled eyes upon his old em- 
ployer, who lay just out of earshot of their low tones. 

"Take it, Hugh," said his cousin earnestly. "Drink to 
the death of hate. He and I have made up." 

The veteran hesitated, and a spasm, as if from a wrench 
of pain, passed over his face. Then he took the glass, and 
said coldly, " I drink to your recovery, sir." 

" I thank you," was Mr. Houghton's response. 

" A very fair beginning, Hugh, for a man," his cousin 
resumed. "You might as well give up at once, though. 
Every thing is going to be shaken down that shouldn't stand." 

Ominous words to the veteran, for he felt that his dream 
of happiness was faUing in ruins. 

By the natural force of circumstances the several charac- 
ters of our story had been brought comparatively near to- 
gether, yet were separated into httle groups. Dr. Devoe 
passed from one to the other as his services were needed, 
nor were they confined to those known to us. He simply 
made a little open space beside Mr. Houghton his head- 
quarters, where he left his remedies under the charge of the 
invahd, Jube, and old Tobe. Other physicians had joined 
him and were indefatigable in the work of relief. Some 
of the city clergy were also in the square, speaking words of 
Christian faith and hope, which never before had seemed so 

To Clancy Dr. Devoe gave a good deal of attention. 
Not only was his hair singed, but his neck and hands were 
badly burned, and his swoon was so obstinate as to indicate 


great exhaustion. This could scarcely be other\vise, for he 
possessed no such physique as young Houghton had de- 
veloped. Moreover he had passed through a mental strain 
and excitement which no one could comprehend except 
Mara, and she but partially. Houghton had put his coat 
under the head of the unconscious man, and was doing his 
best for him. So also was Miss Ainsley now. She had 
purposely turned her back on Mara, and her face was 
towards the adjacent conflagration, which distinctly lighted 
up her face and form, transforming her into a vision of 
marvellous beauty. Her long hair had fallen in a golden 
veil over her bare shoulders and neck ; her dark eyes were 
lustrous with excitement and full of solicitude. When at 
last Clancy opened his eyes his first impression was that an 
angel was ministering to him in a light too brilliant to be 
earthly. He recognized Miss Ainsley's voice, however, and 
when he had taken some of the wine which the doctor 
pressed to his lips, all that had happened came back to 
him. George now returned in sohcitude to his father, also 
designing to take a litde much-needed rest, while the 
doctor gave his attention to other patients. With returning 
consciousness Clancy was overpowered by a deep sense of 
gratitude to this beautiful creature, and also by a strong 
feeling of compunction that he had sought the regard which 
she now seemed to bestow unstintedly. " Like Mara, " he 
thought, " there is nothing left for me but to fulfil obliga- 
tions from which I cannot honorably withdraw." 

" You are indeed kind and devoted," he said feebly. " I 
fear I have made a good deal of trouble." 

" No, Mr. Clancy, you have gone beyond your strength. 
In fact, we are all distracted and half beside ourselves. 
Won't you let me take your head into my lap? If I am 
caring for you I can better endure these awful scenes." 
And she made the change. 


" I hope you will forgive me for leaving you so abruptly 
on the Battery. Mrs. Hunter and Miss Wallingford really 
had no one to look to." 

" Captain Bodine evidently thinks Miss Wallingford should 
look to him." 

" In such an emergency he would be even more helpless 
than she." 

" Oh, well, I hope the worst is now over for us all, and 
that we can soon get away from this awful town." 

He gave no answer. Miss Ainsley knew that her father 
was not far distant, and that he would come for her by the 
first train which could reach the city. Accustomed all her 
life to look at every thing from the central point of self, 
she now, in the greater sense of safety, began to give some 
thought to the future. Her first conscious decision was to 
try to be as brave as possible, and so leave a good impres- 
sion. The second was to get away from the city at once, 
and she hoped she might never see it again. If Clancy 
would go with her, if he would even eventually join her at 
the North, she believed that she could marry him, so 
favorable was the impression that he had made, but she felt 
that she was making a great concession, which he must duly 
appreciate. At present the one consuming wish was to 
escape, to get away from scenes which to her were horrible 
in the last degree. 

In truth only a brave spirit could witness what was taking 
place on every side, or maintain fortitude under the over- 
whelming impression of personal danger, — an impression 
which soon banished the partial sense of security felt after 
reaching the square. The extent of the terror inspired by 
the earthquake can best be measured by the fact that 
although columns of smoke and fire, consuming homes and 
threatening to lay the city in ashes, were rising at several 
points, they were scarcely heeded. The roar of adjacent 


flames could even be heard by the vast concourse, but ears 
were strained to detect that more terrible roar that seemed 
to come from unknown depths beneath the ocean and the 
land, and to threaten a fate as awful and mysterious as 
itself. Even many of the white population could not help 
sharing in some degree the general belief among the negroes 
that the end of all things was at hand. The nervous shock 
sustained by all prepared the way for the wildest fears and 
conjectures. As in the instance of a bloody battle, those 
were the best off who were the most occupied. 

Thousands, however, sat and waited in sickening appre- 
hension, fearing some new horror with every passing moment. 
There was a sound of weeping throughout the square, while 
above this monotone rose groans, cries, hysterical screams, 
loud petitions for mercy, and snatches of hymns. The emo- 
tional negroes left no moments of silence. The majority 
of the white people had become comparatively calm. They 
talked in low tones, encouraging and soothing one another ; 
the lips of even those who seldom looked heavenward now 
often moved in silent prayer ; fathers, on whose brows rested 
a heavy load of care, tried to cheer their trembling famihes ; 
and mothers clasped their sobbing children in their arms, 
with the feeling that even death should not part them. 

Over all this array of pallid, haggard faces, shone the 
flames of the still unquenched conflagration. 




WHEN Aun' Sheba saw that Mara, Mrs. Hunter, and 
Clancy were among friends, with a physician in at- 
tendance, she sat down by her daughter Sissy, and took Httle 
Vilet in her lap. 

"I kin'er feel," she said, "dat ef de yearth is gwine ter 
swaller us, I'se like ter go down wid dis chile. Vilet shuah 
to go up ag'in, an' p'raps de Lawd ud say, ' You kin come 
too, Aun' Sheba.' " 

The sound of her voice so far restored Uncle Sheba to 
his normal condition, that Jie was able to creep on his hands 
and knees to a position just behind his wife, where he 
crouched as if she were a sort of general protection. 

Vilet, roused at her grandmother's voice, looked around, 
and then asked in her plaintive voice, " Whar's daddy?" 

" He's hep'n' put'n' out de fiahs, deah chile." 

" My bref gittin' bery sho't, granny. I can't stay dis side 
ob de riber much longer ; I wants ter see daddy 'fore I go." 

" Po' chile and po' Kern," groaned Aun' Sheba. " We 
doesn't know whar he be, an' I'se 'feerd he couldn't lebe off 
puttin' out de fiahs." 

From time to time Vilet wailed, " Daddy, come, come 
quick. I'se gwine fas, an' I wants to see you onst mo'." 

Captain Bodine heard the cry, and, having rested himself 
a little, came to Aun' Sheba and asked, " Do you know, 
where Kern is?" 


" I doan, Marse Cap'n, but he mought be at dis nighest 

"I'll see," said the veteran, halting away with the feeling 
that he must do something to divert his torturing thoughts. 

Watson was soon pointed out to him, where with stern 
and quiet face he was carrying out his orders. When told 
that Vilet was near and calling for him, the veins came out 
on his forehead, and for a moment he was irresolute. Then 
he cried, " No, sah, I can't go. Fo' de Lawd, ef she die 
an' we all die I won't lebe my duty." 

" You're a man," said Bodine, clapping him on the shoul- 
der, " I will arrange this." 

He went direct to Kern's superior officer and briefly told 
him the circumstances, then added, " I know these people. 
^^'atson deserves consideration. I will take his place. I 
can hold the hose as well as he, and will stand as near the 
fire as he does if you will order hnn to go to his dying child 
for a few minutes." 

" In that case I can comply," said the officer. " Watson 
has behaved splendidly, and he'll come back soon." 

The first thing Kern knew, the hose was taken from his 
hand, and he ordered to go and return within ten minutes. 
He hesitated. " Obey orders," was the stern command. 
Then he rushed away. 

The plaintive cry, " Daddy, daddy," guided him, and 
Vilet was in his arms. 

" Chile, deah chile ! " was all he could say as he kissed 
the thin face again and again. 

" Now my min's at res'," said the little girl, with a sigh 
of ineffable content. " You 'member, daddy, — you says — 
'Yes, Vilet.' — I'se a-goin', daddy. De angels — is all 
ready — to tote me to Heben. I kin jes' heah dere wings 

— rustlin' roun' me. I was jes' waitin', — an' hol'n back 

— ter see you onst mo'. Good-by, modcr — granny." 


Then she feebly wound her little arms about Kern's neck 
and whispered, " Good-by, daddy, fer jes' a lil while. I'se 
wait neah de gate fer you sliuah.^'' 

It would seem that she put all her remaining strength into 
this effort, for her head fell over on his shoulder ; she quiv- 
ered a moment, then was still. Kern could not repress one 
deep groan. He looked for a moment of agony mto his 
child's face, kissed it, then placing her in Aun' Sheba's lap, 
departed as swiftly as he came. Sissy was so overcome as 
to be helpless. 

" Your time wasn't up," said the veteran. 

" Her time was up, Cap'n Bodine," Kern managed to 
reply, his face rigid with repressed emotion. " She die in 
my arms. God bless yo' fer you'se feelins fer a po' man." 

" Watson, I do feel for you and with you. Our hearts 
are all breaking to-night. Take care of yourself. You have 
a wife and children still to live for." x^nd Bodine halted 
back and seated himself by his cousin. 

Alas ! for thousands the words of Bodine were only too 
true. As they contemplated what had happened and what 
might occur at any moment, they felt that heavy, crushing 
pain, unlike all others, which gathers at the heart, over- 
whelming the spirit and threatening physical dissolution at 
one and the same time. 

Yet such is the power of human affection and Christian 
faith, that they won many triumphs, even during that night 
of horrors. In Ella and the dying woman, whose head she 
pillowed on her breast, were examples of both. The girl's 
heart was indeed pitiful and sympathetic, and the poor crea- 
ture knew that it was, for in broken, gasping words she told 
her brief, pathetic story, so like that of many other women 
in the South, Once she was a happy girl at home on a 
small plantation, but father, brothers, and lover had all per- 
ished in the war. Home and mother had since been lost. 


and she was fighting out life's long, weary battle when this 
final disaster brought the end. "Yes, kind lady, I reckon 
I'm dying : I hope so. I couldn't take care of myself any 
longer, and I'd rather join those who have gone on before 
me than trust to the charity of this world. I am very 
weary, very heavy laden, and I'd rather go to Him who said, 
'■ Come to Me.' If you can stay with me a little longer — 
I don't fear, but it's very sweet to have human kindness and 
company down into the dark valley." 

Her words proved true. She evidendy perished from 
internal injuries, for she soon ceased to gasp, and her head 
lay still against the bosom of the sobbing girl. 

Dr. Devoe was present during the last moments, then 
gently reheved Ella from her lifeless burden, and supported 
her to her father on whose shoulder she shed those natural 
tears which soon bring relief to the hearts of the young. 
George Houghton and Jube carried the body to the place 
set apart for the dead. Then George returned to his father's 
side, but looked wistfully at Ella with an unspeakable longing 
to comfort her. 

" I don't wonder, my boy," said Mr. Houghton, interpret- 
ing his thoughts. " Go and speak to her." 

George approached timidly, and said, " Miss Bodine." 

She started, raised her head, and began to wipe her eyes. 

"I — I — Well, I don't know what to say to make you 
understand how my father and I have sympathized with your 
brave — Well, you were so kind and patient with that poor 
woman. I wish I could do something for you, and I will," 
and he hastened away. 

She called, " I don't need any thing, Mr. Houghton. In- 
deed I do not. It would only distress me " — But he was 
out of hearing. " Oh," she moaned again on her fother's 
shoulder, "why will he take risks?" 

It was evident that Mr. Houghton shared her anxiety, for 



he divined his son's purpose, and looked with troubled face 
for his return. He soon came back carrying another mat- 
tress, pillows and blankets. Sam, compelled to leave the 
horses, followed with a basket of provisions. Ella was 
clothed in little besides a light wrapper, and had shivered 
more than once in the night air. George tried to induce 
her and Mrs. Bodine to, accept of the mattress, but they 
asked as a favor that it might be placed under Mrs. Hunter. 
He readily complied, saying he would get another for them. 

At this moment came the ominous groan of the severe 
shock which occurred at about half -past two o'clock 
Wednesday morning. T© the terrified people it was like 
the growl of some ravening beast rushing upon them, and a 
long wailing cry blended with the horrible roar as it swept 
under and over them, then died away in the north-west. 

" O Mr. Houghton," sobbed Ella when her voice could 
be heard, " please don't go away — please don't go near a 
building again." 

" George," added his father, almost sternly, '' not with my 
consent will you leave me again till we learn more definitely 
what our fate is to be. If you were in the house when this 
shock occurred, you might have perished. It is no longer a 
question of more or less comfort." 

" I reckon not," said Mrs. Bodine. " It's a question of 
ever seeing the sun rise again. We may as well speak out 
what is in our minds, and get ready for a city not made with 

" I wish we were all as ready to go as you are. Cousin 
Sophy," Ella whispered. 

" Well, my dear, I've more property in that city than in 
this wrecked town, and ' where your treasure is, there will 
your heart be also.' " Then she added, " You'll be spared, 
dear child. You and your knight will see many happy years. 
God bless you both." 

390 thp: earth trembled. 

" O cousin ! it is such a comfort, even at this awful time, 
to see him, to know he is near, to think he came for — for 
us !" 

" For you, dear Httle goose. He'd face earthquakes, vol- 
canoes, tornadoes, cyclones, and even his father before this 
well-deserved shaking converted him, for your sake." 

" Cousin," whispered the girl, " I'm so glad. Is it wrong 
to be glad at such a time? " 

" Wrong to be glad when God loves you and a good man 
loves you ? I reckon not. All the quakes that ever shook 
this crazy old earth are bagatelles compared with such facts." 

" O cousin, you are such a tower of strength and com- 
fort ! " 

" I'm a leaning tower," replied the old lady, whose vein 
of humor ran through all her thoughts, " but I'm leaning on 
what won't fail me. Nestle down by my side, dear child. 
You are shivering, and this extra blanket will do us both 
good. Now be comfortable, and believe with me that noth- 
ing in the universe can or will harm you." 

" Poor Mara ! " Ella sighed. 

" Yes, I've been watching and grieving over her. I never 
saw any face more expressive of suffering than hers. I don't 
understand her unless — unless — well, time will show, that 
is, if there is much more time for me." 

" O cousin, we never could spare you ! " 

" That is what I used to think about my husband, but he 
always went when sailing orders came, and I survived. I 
feel to-night as if he and the boys were just waiting off shore, 
if this tossing and pitching earth can be called shore, for 
me to join them." 

Captain Bodine sat through the shock without moving a 
muscle. His eyes rested wistfully on Mara. With an inde- 
scribable pang he saw that in the supreme moment of general 
terror her eyes turned not to him but to Clancy, and that 


she made a half involuntary movement as if to go to him. 
The glance, the act, combined with what had gone before, 
were too significant, and Bodine buried his face in his hands 
that she might not see his trouble. She knew it all the 
more surely, yet felt how powerless she was to console him. 

" Oh, my blind, blind folly ! " she groaned inwardly. "If 
I had been true to my heart, I might be caring for Owen 
instead of that woman who left him to die, and my father's 
friend acting like a father towards us both. I wanted to be 
so heroic and self-sacrificing, and I've only sacrificed those 
I love most." 

Mrs. Hunter was so fully under the influence of anodynes 
as not to be cognizant of what was taking place, and Bodine, 
soldier-like, was not long in reaching his decision. Rising, 
he went aside with Dr. Devoe, and said, " Miss Wallingford 
is keeping up from the sheer force of will. Nothing but 
your command can induce her to yield and take such rest 
as can be obtained here. I do not think you can interpose 
too soon. I will watch Mrs. Hunter." 

Mara had indeed reached the hmit of endurance, and 
the physician quickly detected the fact. He took her by the 
hand and arm, and gently raised her to her feet as he said, 
" I am autocrat here. Even kings and generals must obey 
their doctor. So I shall ask no permission to place you 
beside Mrs. Bodine. She and rest can do you more good 
than I can. Captain Bodine and I will look after Mrs. 

Mara gave the veteran a grateful glance and yielded. 
Then she buried her face in Mrs. Bodine's neck, and was 
silent until she slept from physical exhaustion. 

Miss Ainsley, with multitudes of others, yielded to her 
terror at the passing of the midnight earthquake. She 
shrieked and half rose in her wild impulse to fly. Then 
apparently forgetting Clancy she piteously begged Dr. Devoe 


to give her something that would certainly bring oblivion 
for a few hours at least. He good-naturedly complied. 
When the opiate began to take effect she was placed on the 
mattress beside Mrs. Hunter, and was soon in stupor. 
Clancy had so far recovered that he was able to sit up, and 
he felt that he should watch beside the girl who he believed 
had been so devoted to him in his unconsciousness. 

Dr. Devoe in excuse for Miss Ainsley said, " We can't 
make too much allowance to-night for every one. Many 
strong men are utterly overcome and nauseated by these 
shocks. No wonder women cannot face them." 

" I think Miss Ainsley has borne up wonderfully," Clancy 

" Oh, yes, as well as the average. It's a question of 
nerves with the majority." 

Clancy sat down and looked with pity at the beautiful 
face and dishevelled hair. " Poor girl ! " he thought, " she 
did her best by me. Indeed, I had scarcely thought her 
capable of such devotion. By all that's honorable I'm 
bound to her now. Well, eventually I can give her a truer 
affection, for she has ceased to be merely a part of an ambi- 
tious scheme. By our own acts Mara and I are separated, 
and, however deep our grief may be, it must be hidden 
from all." 

Thus he and Captain Bodine sat on either side of the 
pallet, each immersed in painful thought, oblivious of the 
strange scenes enacted all around them. They did not 
feel then that they could speak to each other. 

The veteran was perplexed, and his proud spirit also 
labored under a deep sense of wrong. It was evident that 
he had been deceived by Mara, and that all along she had 
loved the man so near to him, loved him better than her 
own life. Why had she concealed the fact? Why had 
she been so cold and harsh towards Clancy himself until 


the awful events of the night and peril to life had over- 
powered her reserve and revealed her heart? He could 
think of no other explanation than that afforded by the un- 
conscious girl over whom Clancy watched. He had heard 
of the young man's devotion to Miss Ainsley, and, from what 
he had seen, believed that they were affianced. He was 
too just and large in his judgment to think Mara's course 
towards him was due to pique and wounded pride, and he 
was not long in arriving at a very fair explanation of her 
motives and action. Keenly intelligent and mature in 
years he was beyond the period of passionate and incon- 
siderate resentment. Moreover his love for the orphan girl 
was so true, and the memory of her father and mother so 
dear to him, that he was able to rise nobly above mere self, 
and resolve to become the most loyal of friends, a protector 
against her very self. "Now I think of it," he mused, 
" she has never said she loved me, although she permitted 
me to think she did. Even when I declared my love she 
only said, ' Life offers me nothing better than to be your 
wife.' That no doubt was true as she meant it, for she then 
thought this man here was lost to her. She did not wel- 
come my love when she first recognized it, but soon her 
spirit of self-sacrifice came in, and she reasoned that since 
she could not be happy in herself, she would make me 
happy. From the very first I believed that this spirit could 
lead her to deception for the sake of others, and I have not 
been sufficiently on my guard against it. Yet how could I 
suspect this Clancy, whom she so repelled and contemned, 
and who was devoting himself to another woman ? Perhaps 
she partially deceived herself as well as me. The affection 
probably struck root years since when she and Clancy were 
friends. He outgrew it ; she has not, as she has learned 
to-night, if not before. He went to her aid because he was 
friendly in spite of her apparent bitterness towards him. 


which perhaps he understood better than I. Possibly Mrs. 
Hunter may have broken their relations, for there is no 
doubt about her feelings. Well, time must unravel the 
snarl. It would now seem that he is devoted to this girl 
here, and she to him as far as she can be to any one. What 
he will think when he learns that she ran shrieking away 
and left him, while Mara, reckless of life itself, stood by 
him to the last, I cannot know. If he loves her he will for- 
give her, for no man can blame a woman for succumbing to 
the terror of this night. Possibly at some distant day Mara 
may still think that life offers her nothing better than to be 
my wife ; but she shall be free, free as air, and know, too, 
that I know all." 

Thus Bodine communed with himself after a habit learned 
long ago in the presence of danger. 

Clancy also was confronted by possible results of his 
action, the fear of which enabled his cool, resolute nature 
to rise above all other fear. He resolved to go at once to 
Aun' Sheba, and caution her against speaking of the scenes 
in which she, with Mara, and himself had taken part. 




CLANCY was giiided by the voice of Ann' Sheba, the 
wailing of Sissy, and the groans and unearthly sounds to 
which Uncle Sheba was giving utterance. The adjacent fire 
was so far subdued that only a red glow in the sky above 
marked the spot. The stars shone in calm, mocking seren- 
ity on the wide scene of human distress and fear. " Alas," 
he thought, " what atoms we are ; and what an atom is this 
earth itself ! It would seem that faith is the simplest, yet 
mightiest effort of the mind at such a time," and he paused 
till Aun' Sheba should be more free to listen to him. 

Mr. Birdsall, with his youngest child in his arms, had been 
exhorting those of his people near him, but his words had 
been of little effect in quieting Sissy and Uncle Sheba. The 
latter had concluded that he would not wait till the coming 
winter before again " 'speriencin 'ligion," and his uncouth 
appeals to Heaven were but the abject expression of animal 
fear. Aun' Sheba had lost her patience with both him and 
her daughter, and was expostulating vigorously. " I'se asham 
on you. Sissy," she said. " Wot good de 'ligion you 'fess do 
you, I'd like ter know? Ain't Vilet in Hebin? Ain't you 
got de bes husban bawn ? Ain't de oder chil'n heah ? Now 
ef you'se 'ligion any good 'tall, be quiet an tankful dat you 
bettah off dan hun'erds. Unc, you kin pray all you wants, 
but ef you specs de Lawd ter listen you'se got ter pray like a 
man an not like a hog dat wants his dinnah. You'se 'sturbin 


everybody wuss dan you did wen you got sot on. I won 
hab it said my folks made a rumpus in dis time ob trouble. 
You'se got ter min me, Mr. Buggone, or I'se hab you took 
out de squar." 

Uncle Sheba was never so far gone in his fears, but that 
he shrunk from facing any thing worse, and so he subsided 
into low inarticulate groans. Sissy was not so tractable, for 
her weeping was largely nervous and hysterical. She had an 
affectionate, emotional nature, but was far from being gifted 
with the strength of mind and character possessed by her 
mother and husband. 

" Aun' Sheba," said Clancy kindly, " your daughter needs 
something to quiet her nerves. I will bring it to her." He 
soon returned with medicine from the doctor, and under its 
influence the bereaved mother became calmer and wept 
sofdy by her dead child. 

Clancy drew Aun' Sheba a little apart so that others could 
not hear, even if any were disposed to listen at this time of 
intense pre-occupation. "You have been a friend indeed 
to-night," he said. " I must ask another proof of your good 
will. The earthquake has brought trouble enough, but I 
fear that Mara and I have brought greater trouble upon our- 
selves. Probably you've seen enough to explain what I 

" I'se seen a heap, Marse Clancy." 

" Well, you are Mara's old nurse. She loves and trusts 
you. She is engaged to Captain Bodine." 

" She ain't mar'ed to 'im." 

" She feels herself bound, and has said that if I was a 
true Southern gentleman I would not interfere. This is 
bad enough, but there's worse still. I thought she was lost 
to me — you know about it, I reckon." 

" Yes, I knows now. I was a blin ole fool an tink it was 
wuckin' so hard dat made her po'ly." 


" Oh, we have both made such fatal mistakes ! I, like a 
fool, when I believed she would never speak to me again, 
entangled myself also. Now, Aun' Sheba, what I wish is 
that you say nothing to any one of what you have seen and 
heard. We've got to do what's honorable at every cost to 

" Dus wot's hon'ble mean dat Missy Mara got ter mar'y 
Marse Bodine an you de limpsey slimpsey one wot say you 
'serted her? " 

" Nothing else seems to be left for us." 

" 'Pears ter me, Marse Clancy, you an Missy Mara gittin 
orful muxed up in wot's hon'ble. I'se ony got wot folks 
calls hoss-sense, but its dead agin you bofe. Take you now. 
Fust you got ter tell de gal lies, den lies to her fader an de 
minister wot jines you, an de hull worl. Missy Mara ud hab 
ter lie like de debil, too, an you bofe go on lyin 'miscuously. 
Anyhow, you'se hab ter act out de lies ef you didn't say 'em. 
'Ud dat be hon'ble wen all de time you'se yearnin fer each 

" O Aun' Sheba, it's hard enough without such words as 
yours ! " 

" Ob corse it's hard. It orter be, fer it's agin de Lawd 
an natur. Marse Clancy, took keer wot you do, an wot 
you let Missy Mara do. My 'sperience teach me a heap. 
'Spose I doan' know de dif ence 'tween Unc. dar an a man 
like Kern? I was young an foolish onct, an mar'ed Unc. 
kase he was good lookin den, an mo' kase he ax me. Well, 
I'se made de bes on it, an I'se gwine ter make de bes 
on it ; but if de yearth crack right open heah, as like 'nuff 
'twill 'fo' mawnin, I'd jump right down in de crack 'fo' 
I'd do it ober ag'in. You'se on de safe side ob de crack 
yit, so be keerful. I knows woman folks soon as I claps 
my eyes on dem. Missy Mara quar in her notions 'bout de 
Norf, — she was brung up to 'em — but dere's nuff woman 


in my honey lam' to make a tousan ob dis yere limpsey 
slimpsey one." 

Clancy clinched his hands in mental distress as he 
listened to the hard sense and unerring judgment of the 
sagacious old woman. 

" I'm in terrible perplexity," he said, " for there is so 
m.uch truth in your words. How can I escape the con- 
sequences of my own acts ? Think how Miss Ainsley stood 
by me in my unconsciousness ! When I revived " — 

*' Dar now, Marse Clancy, you'se been fooled. She stood 
by hersef. De fac am, she didn't stan 'tall, but run like a 
deer, hollerin fer all she's wuth. Wen you swoonded, Missy 
Mara cotch you in her arms. I eben run away, an lef my 
honey lam' mysef, but I come back sudden, an dar she 
was a hol'n you head in her lap right uner a big bildin dat 
ud a squashed her. I drag you pass dat, an den Marse 
Bodine jes ordered me an Missy to go to de squar. He 
spoke stern an strong as if we his sogers. An Missy Mara 
look 'im in de eyes an say, you — dat's you, Marse Clancy — • 
may be dead, or you may be dyin, an dat she can't leab 
you an she won leab you. She got de grit ob true lub, 
an dere'll neber be any runin away in her heart. Wot you 
an Marse Bodine gwine ter do 'bout sich lub as dat? 'Fo' 
de Lawd my honey lam' die ef you an Marse Bodine 'sist 
on bein so orful hon'ble. She aint one dem kin' dat takes 
a husban like dey takes a breakfas kase its ready." 

Clancy was so profoundly moved by what he heard that 
he turned away to hide his emotion. After a moment he 
said, " You have been true and faithful, Aun' Sheba. You 
won't be sorry. Please do as I have asked." And he 
hastened away. 

" Reckon I put a spoke in dat hon'ble bizness," Aun' 
Sheba soliloquized. "Like 'nuff I put anoder in. Doan 
cotch me hep'n along any sich foolishness. I gibs no 


promise, an I'se gwine ter make my honey lam' happy spite 
hersef." Tlien she took one of her grandchildren, and 
soothed it to sleep. 

The slow hours dragged wearily on ; the majority of the 
white people quieted down to patient, yet fearful waiting ; 
crying children, one after another, dropped off to sleep ; 
parents and friends watched over them and one another, 
conversing in low tones or praying silently for the Divine 
mercy, never before felt to be so essential. The negroes 
were more demonstrative, and their loud prayers and singing 
of hymns continued without abatement or hinderance. The 
expressions of some were so extravagant and uncouth as to 
grate harshly on all natures possessing any refinement ; but 
when such men as Mr. Birdsall exhorted or prayed, there 
were but few among the whites who did not listen reverently, 
and in their hearts acknowledge the substantial truth of the 
words spoken and their need of the petitions offered. 

Clancy went back to his watch. Few men in the city 
were more troubled and perplexed than he, for he had not 
the calmness resulting from a definite purpose as was true 
of Bodine. 

Unmovedly the two men remained at their posts of duty 
awaiting the day or what might happen before the dawn. 
George lay down beside his father, and soon slept from 
fatigue, while Mr. Houghton, now so softened and chastened, 
vowed to make him happy. 

Ella watched her father in deep solicitude, feeling vaguely 
that his trouble was not caused wholly by the general reasons 
for distress. At last she stole to his side, and laid her head 
upon his shoulder. The act comforted and sustained him 
more than she knew at the time, for he was not a demon- 
strative man. He only kissed her tenderly and bade her 
return to her cousin, with whom she kept up a whispered 
and fragmentary conversation. Mrs. Willoughby sat beside 


her husband, her head pillowed against his breast as they 
waited for the day. 

A breeze sprang up, and the freshness of the morning 
was in it. Would the sun ever rise again ? Was not Nature 
so out of joint that nothing familiar could be looked for 
any more ? The terrors of the long night inspired morbid 
thoughts, which come too readily in darkness. 

At the appointed time, however, there was a glow in the 
east, which steadily deepened in color. Truly, to the weary, 
haggard, shivering, half-clad watchers, the sun was an angel 
of hght that morning ; and never did fire-worshippers greet 
his rise with a deeper feehng of gratitude and gladness. 

There was a general stir in the strange bivouac, an in- 
creased murmur of voices. The hymns of the negroes 
gradually ceased ; and people, singly or in groups, began 
to leave the square for their homes, in order to clothe them- 
selves more fully, and to discover what was left to them in 
the general wreck. 

There had been no shock since the convulsion at half- 
past two o'clock, the fact inspiring general confidence that 
the worst was over. Hope grew stronger with the blessed 
light, and fear vanished with the darkness. 

Mr. Houghton touched his son, who immediately awoke, 
meditating deeds of hospitality. " Father," he said, " our 
house is near. Cannot I, with the aid of Jube and Sam, 
get our friends some breakfast? " 

" Yes, George, and extend the invitation from me." 

" O father ! I'm so grateful that you are giving me this 
chance to — to " — 

" You shall have all the chance you wish. In fact, I'm 
rather inclined to see what I can do myself. I may need 
a good deal of nursing." And the old man's face was 
lighted up with a kindly smile, which made his son positively 


Approaching Bodine, he asked, " Do you think it will be 
safe for the invahds to leave the square?" 

"I scarcely think so," was the reply. "At least, not until 
more time passes without disturbance. From what I've 
read of earthquakes, our houses may be unsafe for days to 

" Well, the first thing to be done is to see that you all 
have some breakfast. Fortunately, our house is not far ; 
and, although our women-servants have fled, I have two 
men who will stand by me. The fact is, my hunting expe- 
ditions have made me a fairly good cook myself. My father 
cordially extends the invitation that all my friends here 
breakfast with us." 

" I will join in your labors, Houghton," said Clancy, 
promptly. " Having no home, I gratefully accept your 
father's invitation." 

" We're all shipwrecked on a desert island," added Mrs. 
Bodine cheerily to George. " You appear to be one of the 
friendly natives, and I put myself under your protection." 

" Our custom here is," replied the young fellow in like 
vein, " that, after we have taken salt together, we become 
fast friends." 

" Bring on the salt, then," she answered laughing, while 
Ella's smile seemed to the young fellow more vivifying than 
the first level rays of the sun. Mara, Mrs. Hunter, and 
Miss Ainsley were still sleeping, as also was Dr. Devoe. 

" Houghton," called Mr. Willoughby, " won't you enroll 
me as one of your cooks or waiters? " 

" No," replied George, " I must leave you and Captain 
Bodine in charge of camp." 

"Too many cooks spile de brof," said Aun' Sheba, rising 
from Mara's side where she had been watching for the last 
hour. " Marse Houghton, you bery fine cook fer de woods, 
I spec, but I reckon I kin gib a HI extra tech to de doin's." 


" Ah, Aun' Sheba, if you'll come, you shall be chief cook, 
and I, for one, promise to obey. Mrs. Willoughby, I'm so 
very glad that I can now return a litde of your kindness." 

" I take back what I said about absolving you," she 

"You'd better. If I don't make the most of my chance 
now my name is not George Houghton. Of course I sha'n't 
say any thing while these troubles last. You understand, I 
don't wish any thing to happen which would embarrass her, 
or make it hard to accept what I can do for her and hers ; 
but when the right time comes," and he nodded significantly. 

"You are on the right tack as you boatmen say," she 
whispered laughing. 

"See here, Houghton," remarked jolly Mr. Willoughby, 
" earthquakes and secret conferences with my wife are more 
than a fellow can stand at one and the same time." 

"You shall soon have consolation," said George, hasten- 
ing away, followed by Clancy, Aun' Sheba, Jube, and Sam. 
When the last-named worthy appeared near Mr. Houghton's 
barn the horses whinnied and the two dogs barked joyously. 

"Mr. Clancy," said George, handing him his pocket-book, 
" since you have kindly offered to aid, please take Jube and 
visit the nearest butcher's-shop and bakery. I suggest that 
you lay in a large supply, for we don't know what may 
happen. Please get eggs, canned delicacies, any thing you 
think best. Don't spare money. Help yourself, if owners 
are absent. I will honor all your I O U's." 

" All right, Houghton ; but remember that I'm an active 
partner in this catering business. Fortunately I don't need 
to go to the bank for money." 

Aun' Sheba exclaimed over the evidences of disaster along 
the street, but when she saw what a wreck Mr. Houghton's 
massive portico had become she lifted her hands in dis- 


"That don't trouble me," said George, "since I'm not 
under it. I passed beneath a second or two before it fell." 

" De Lawd be praised ! Pears ter me He know wot He 
'bout, an is gwine ter bring down pride ez well ez piazzers." 

" It looks that way, Aun' Sheba. Here, Sam, make the 
kitchen fire before you do any thing else. Now we must 
rummage and see what we can find." 

Aun' Sheba took possession of the kitchen, and with broom, 
mop, and cloths, soon brought order out of chaos, Sam 
found that although the chimney had lost its top, it fortu- 
nately drew, and the fire in the range speedily proved all 
that could be desired. George ravaged the store-closet until 
Aun' Sheba said, " Nuff heah already ter feed de squar." 

Then he went up and looked about the poor wrecked 
home, meanwhile setting Sam to dusting chairs and carrying 
them to the square. Then a table, crockery, knives, forks, 
spoons, napkins, etc., were despatched. 

Clancy and Jube found that the proprietors of some of 
the shops were plucking up courage to enter them and re- 
sume trade, and so they eventually returned well laden with 
provisions. Then Jube was sent with wash-basins, water and 
towels for ablutions. Meantime George and Clancy took 
a hasty bath and exchanged their ruined clothing for clean 

" Houghton, you are a godsend to us all," exclaimed his 

" I suppose the whole affair is a godsend," was the reply, 
" any\vay, I'm getting my satisfaction out of it this morning." 

As sprightly Mrs. Willoughby saw the appliances for their 
comfort following one after another she said to Ella, " We 
may as well make believe that it is a picnic." 

Ella smiled and replied, " I'm better dressed for breakfast 
than you are, for I have on a wrapper, and you are in a low- 
necked evening costume." 


" I feel as if I could eat a breakfast all the same. What 
creatures these mortals be ! A little while ago I was in the 
depths of misery, and now I'm hungry and kind of happy." 

"Oh, you are," said her husband, "when you may have 
to take in washing for a living, while I shovel brick and 

" No indeed," cried his wife, "I'll join the firm of Wall- 
ingford and Bodine, and you can help Aun' Sheba peddle 

"That's right, children," said Mrs. Bodine, "that's the 
true brave Southern spirit. We are all born soldiers, seamen 
rather, since the land has been as freakish as the waves. 
Now mind, I'll send the first one below who shows the white 

Mr. Houghton lay apart from this group ; and, while he 
felt his isolation, knew that he was to blame for it. They 
also felt the awkwardness of their situation, not knowing how 
far he was willing or able to converse with them. Mr. Will- 
oughby was about to break the ice, but Ella forestalled him. 
" Mr. Houghton," she said, timidly approaching, " is there 
any thing we can do for you ? We are all so grateful." 

" Yes, Miss Bodine. Forget and forgive," 

" There seems very little now to forgive, and we do not 
wish to forget your kindness." 

" Good Lor ! " whispered Mrs. Bodine to Mrs. Willough- 
by, " I couldn't have turned a neater sentence myself." 

"Well, Miss Bodine," resumed Mr. Houghton, " I sup- 
pose we shall have to let bygones be bygones. Now that 
sunshine and brightness have come, we should not recall 
any thing painful. I trust that the worst is over, but our 
courage may yet be sorely tried. I will esteem it a very 
great favor if you and your friends will accept without reluct- 
ance what my son can do for your comfort." 

Ella could not repress a little laugh of pleasure as she 


replied, " It is too late now to affect any reluctance. We 
owe him so much that we might as well owe him more." 
Then, ever practical, she arranged a screen to shade his face 
from the sun's rays. 

Mr. Willoughby now came up and spoke in a friendly 
way of the probable effects of the disaster upon the city, 
and so the touch of mutual kindness began to make them 

Mrs. Hunter commenced to moan and toss, and this awak- 
ened Miss Ainsley, who looked around wonderingly. Mrs. 
Willoughby in low tones recalled what had happened, and ex- 
plained the present aspect of affairs. Mrs. Bodine performed 
the same office for Mara, who also had been aroused by the 
voices near. The girl's habit of self-control served her in 
good stead, and she immediately rose, gave her hand to 
Bodine in greeting, and then knelt beside her aunt. Seeing 
Mara so near, Miss Ainsley quickly rose also, and moved away 
in instinctive antipathy. 

Mrs. Hunter was feverish and evidently very ill. She was 
unable to comprehend what was taking place, but recognized 
Mara, whose soothing touch and words alone had the power 
of quieting her. 

Ella bathed Mrs. Bodine's face and hands, and enabled 
her to make " the ghost of a toilet " as the old lady said. 
Then Ella whispered, " I wish I could do as much for Mr. 

" I dare you to do it," said Mrs. Bodine, with a mirthful 
gleam in her eyes. 

Ella caught her spirit, and without hesitation, although 
blushing like a rose, went to Mr. Houghton, and asked, 
" Will you please let me bathe your hands and face also? " 

" Why, Miss Bodine, I should not expect such kindness 
from you. I can wait till my son returns." 

" He is doing so much that he will be tired. It would 


give me pleasure if you will permit it. In waiting on my 
cousin I've learned to be not a very awkward nurse." 

" Well, Miss Bodine, I am learning that even earthquakes 
can bring pleasant compensations. You shall have your own 
way. Yes, you are a good nurse, and a brave and patient 
one. Your kindness to that poor creature who died in your 
arms touched my heart." 

"And mine too, Mr. Houghton. She told me a very 
pitiful story." 

" You shall tell it to me some time, my dear." 

Her heart thrilled as he gently spoke these words, while 
George, striding up with a great platter of steak, almost 
dropped it as he saw the girl waiting on his father as if filial 
relations were already established. The old man enjoyed 
his look of pleased Avonder, and, when he had a chance, 
whispered, " I'm getting ahead of you, my boy, I don't want 
your clumsy hands or Jube's around me any more." Mrs. 
Bodine put her head under the blanket and shook with silent 

Ella was very shy of the young man, however. He could 
not catch her eye, nor get a chance to speak to her except 
in the presence of her father, Mrs. Bodine, or some one 
else. But he possessed his soul in patience, and did his 
best to be a genial host. Clancy, Jube, and Sam followed 
with the coffee and various comestibles. Miss Ainsley was 
a little effusive in her greeting of the man whom she had 
deserted in the street, and again had left to pass the night 
as he could, while she sought oblivion. His response was 
grave, kind, yet not altogether re-assuring. He certainly 
indulged in no lover-like glances ; and he went direct to 
Mara, and inquired gently after Mrs. Hunter. She replied 
quietly, without looking up. It was evident that the sound 
of his voice distressed the injured woman, who was barely 
conscious enough to have vague memories of the past. 


Weary Dr. Devoe was wakened, while George gave Mrs. 
Willoughby his arm, and gallantly placed her behind the 
coffee-urn. Even Captain Bodine assumed a measure of 
cheerfulness during breakfast. When newsboys came gal- 
loping up with the morning paper, Mr. Willoughby rose and 
waved his hat, joining in the general hurrah which rose from 
all parts of the square. Every one warmly appreciated the 
heroism displayed in gathering news and printing a journal 
during the past night. Next to the vivifying light and the 
apparent cessation of the shocks, nothing did more to 
restore confidence than the appearance of the familiar 

*' Old Charleston is alive yet," cried Mr. Willoughby; 
"and if the rest of us have half the pluck shown in that 
printing-house, we'll soon restore every thing." 

" Give me a paper," said Mrs. Bodine. '■'■ I'd rather have 
it than my breakfast." 

" You shall have both," replied Ella, bringing a little tray 
to her side. 

" Ah, Cousin Hugh, you veterans never did any thing 
braver. Own up." 

" I do, most sincerely and heartily." 

Clancy read the journal aloud ; and the coffee grew cold 
as all listened breathlessly to a chapter in the city's history 
never to be forgotten. Mr. Houghton was so absorbed that 
he suddenly became conscious that Ella was beside him 
with the daintiest of breakfasts. " You are spoiling me for 
any other nurse," he said. 

" It is a relief at such a time to care for those who are 
ill and feeble," she replied gently. " If we have to stay 
here, I hope you will let me wait on you ; but I trust that 
we can all soon go to our homes." 

" I have my doubts. Now give me the pleasure of seeing 
you make a good meal." 


" Mr. Clancy," cried Mrs. Willoughby, " in the general 
chaos women may obtain their just pre-eminence. I shall 
take the lead by ordering you to lay down that paper, so 
that you and others may have a hot breakfast." 

Mara could be induced to take nothing beyond a cup of 
coffee. In spite of the sunshine and the general re-action 
into hopefulness and courage, she felt that black chaos was 
coming into her hfe. Her aunt and natural protector 
was very ill. After the events of the night she shrunk in- 
expressibly from her former relations to Bodine. Indeed, it 
seemed impossible to continue them. Yet she asked herself 
again and again, " What else is there for me ? " He was 
very kind, but the expression of his face was inscrutable. 
Moreover, there was Miss Ainsley acting. as if Clancy were 
her own natural property, and he unable to dispute her 
claims. It appeared to her that poor stricken Mrs. Hunter 
was her only refuge, and she resolved to remain close by 
the invalid's side. 

With the coming of the day Uncle Sheba's most poignant 
fears had gradually subsided. He kept his eyes on his wife, 
feeling that any good that he might hope for in this world 
would come though her. Indeed the impression was grow- 
ing that the greatest immediate good to be obtained from 
any world was a breakfast ; and when Aun' Sheba went with 
George to his home, Unc. also followed at a discreet dis- 
tance. The result was that his wife again had to put him 
on a " 'lowance," or little would have been left in Mr. 
Houghton's kitchen. He surreptitiously stuffed a few eata- 
bles into his pocket, and then went out to smoke his pipe. 

Breakfast was at last over at the square. Mr. Willoughby 
rose and said to his wife, " I will go to the house, and get 
more suitable costumes for you and Carrie. Houghton will 
loan you a dressing-room at his house, for the streets can 
be scarcely suitable for you to traverse yet. I'll bring a 


carriage for you, however, as soon as it is possible. Serious 
danger is now over, I hope." 

He had scarcely uttered the words when, as if in mockery, 
far in the south-east was heard again the sound which 
appalled the stoutest hearts. On it came, as if a lightning 
express-train were thundering down upon them. They saw 
the tops of distant trees nod and sway as if agitated l.)y a 
gale ; men, women, and children rushing again, with loud 
cries, from their homes ; then it seemed as if some sul)ter- 
ranean monster was tearing its way through the earth. 

The moment the paralysis of terror passed, Miss Ainsley 
threw herself shrieking upon Clancy, who was compelled to 
support and soothe her. Mara covered her face with her 
hands, trembled violently, but uttered no sound. Ella could 
not repress a cry, as she hid her face upon her father's 
breast, a cry echoed by Mrs. Willoughby as she and her 
husband clung together. George knelt, holding the hand 
of his father, who looked at his son with the feeling that, if 
the end had come, his boy should be the last object on 
which his eyes rested. Mrs. Bodine was as composed as 
the veteran himself, and simply looked heavenward. There 
was something so terrific in the immeasurable power of the 
convulsion, so suggestive of immediate and awful death, that 
few indeed could maintain any degree of fortitude. 

There was one, however, a few rods away, who scarcely 
noticed the shock. Kern Watson, at last released from 
duty, sat on the ground, with his face buried in the neck of 
his dead child. He did not raise his head, and trembled 
only as the quivering earth agitated his form. 




THE earthquake which occurred at 8.25 Wednesday 
morning had a disastrous effect, although it was r^ so 
severe as to injure materially the buildings already so shat- 
tered. It nipped hope and growing confidence in the bud. 
Multitudes had left the square for their homes, a large pro- 
portion with the immediate purpose of obtaining more 
clothing. Many would have been comparatively naked were 
it not for enveloping blankets and the loan of articles of 
apparel from the more fortunate. With the confidence 
which the morning and the continued quiet of the earth 
inspired there had been a general movement from the 
square. Some hastily dressed themselves, snatched up bed- 
ding and food, and returned to the open spaces immedi- 
ately ; others breakfasted at home, and some had the heart 
to begin the task of putting their houses in order. The 
shock drove them forth again with all their fears renewed 
and increased, for the homes, which in many cases had 
been a refuge for generations, were now looked upon as 
death-traps, threatening to mangle and torture as well as 
destroy. The love of gain, the instinct to preserve prop- 
erty, was also obliterated. Merchants deserted their shops 
and warehouses. Banks were unopened, except for the gaps 
rent by the earthquake. The city was full of food, yet 
people went hungry, not daring to enter the places where it 
was stored. After a second and general flight to the square. 


the question in all hearts, "What next?" paralyzed with 
its dread suggestion. 

The fear among the educated had become definite and 
rational. Not that they could explain the earthquake or 
its causes, but the sad experiences of other regions were 
known to them. These experiences, however, had varied so 
greatly in their horrors as to leave a wide margin of terrible 
possibilities. A tidal wave might roll in, for the city was 
scarcely more than nine feet above the sea. The earth 
niight open in great and ingulfing fissures. The tremen- 
dous forces beneath them might seek a volcanic outlet. 
These were all dire thoughts, and were brought home to the 
consciousness the more vividly because the awful phenom- 
ena continued in the serene light of day. The nightmare 
aspect of what had occurred in darkness passed away, and 
the coolest and most learned found themselves confronted 
by dangers which they could not gauge or explain. Nor 
could the end be foreseen. If such considerations weighed 
down the spirits of the most intelligent men, imagine the 
fears of frail, nervous women, of the children, the wild 
panic of the superstitious negroes to whom science explained 
nothing. To their excited minds the earthquake was due 
directly either to the action of a malignant, personal devil, 
or of an angry God. While many of the poor ignorant 
creatures inevitably indulged in what was justly termed 
" religious orgies," the great majority were well behaved and 
patient, finding in their simple faith unspeakable comfort 
and support. 

One fact, however, was clear to all : that the place of 
immediate and greatest danger was near or beneath any 
thing which might be prostrated by the recurring shocks. 

Another feature in Wednesday's experience was very 
depressing. The city was completely isolated from the rest 
of the world. All telegraph-wires were down, all railroads 


leading into the city had been rendered impassable. For 
many hours those without who had friends and relatives in 
Charleston were kept in dreadful suspense. From adjacent 
cities reports of the catastrophe were flashed continuously, 
but in regard to Charleston there was an ominous lack of 
information, and the fear was very general that the city by 
the sea had sunk beneath the waves. 

Mr. Ainsley shared in this horrible dread. He telegraphed 
repeatedly from an inland town, and took the lirst train 
despatched towards the city. His daughter was right in 
believing that he would reach her at the earUest possible 

She was gready demoralized by the shock which dissi- 
pated her impression of comparative safety ; and when she 
realized that the city was utterly cut off from the outside 
world, that it was impossible to know when her father could 
arrive, she gave way to selfish fear and the deepest dejec- 
tion. With embarrassing pertinacity she insisted that Clancy 
should remain near her. Even to the others it was apparent 
that fear, rather than affection, led her to desire his presence 
so earnestly. He had once wondered what kind of a woman 
was masked by her culture and a reserve so perfect that it 
had seemed frankness. The veneer now was stripped off. 
After her own fashion, she was almost as abject in her terror 
as Uncle Sheba who had run howling back to the square, 
leaving the wife who had fed him to her fate. In her lack 
of honest sympathy for others, and indisposidon to exert 
herself in their behalf, Miss Ainsley quite equalled the self- 
ish old negro. The conventional world in which she had 
shone to such advantage had passed away. Her very per- 
fection in form and feature made defects in character more 
glaring, for she was seen to be a fair yet broken promise. 

How sweetly the noble qualities of Ella and Mara were 
revealed by comparison ! They had been taught in the 


school of adversity. From childhood they had learned to 
think of others first rather than of themselves. Miss Ains- 
ley would have been resplendent and at ease in a royal 
drawing-room ; these two girls maintained womanly fortitude 
and gave themselves up to unselfish devotion in the presence 
of a mysterious power which would level an emperor's 
palace as readily as a negro's cabin. 

Clancy saw the difference, — no one more clearly, — and 
his very soul recoiled from the woman he had purposed to 
marry. He patiently bore with her as long as he could 
after the • shock, and then joined Mr. Willoughby, George, 
Bodine, and Dr. Devoe, who were consulting at Mr. Hough- 
ton's bedside. In his shame and distress he did not venture 
even to glance at Mara. 

As the stress of the emergency increased Mr. Houghton's 
mind had grown clear and decided ; his old resolute, busi- 
ness habits asserted themselves, and from his low couch he 
practically became the leader in their council. " From 
what we know of other and like disturbances," he said, " it 
is impossible to foresee when these shocks will end, or how 
soon a refuge can be sought in regions exempt from our 
dangers. Now that I am established in this square near my 
home I intend to remain here for the present. I cordially 
ask you all to share my fortunes. My son will spare no ex- 
pense or effort, that can be made in safety, for our general 
comfort." Then he added before them all, " Captain 
Bodine, I have done you much wrong and discourtesy. I 
apologize. You have invalid and injured ladies in your 
charge. Their claims are sacred and imperative. I will 
esteem it a favor if you will permit my son to do what he 
can for their comfort and protection." 

Bodine at once came forward, and giving Mr. Houghton 
his hand, replied, " You and your son are teaching me that 
I have done you both much greater wrong. I think I shall 


have to surrender as I did once before, but I am glad that 
it is to kindness rather than to force in this instance." 

" Here's the true remedy for our differences," cried Mr. 
Willoughby. "Let the North and South get acquainted, 
and all will be well. But come, we must act, and act 

" Yes," replied George, " for the square is filling up again, 
and we should keep as much space here as possible. I 
have a small tent which I will put up at once for Mrs. 
Bodine and Mrs. Hunter. Then I'll rig an awning for my 
father, and help the rest of you in whatever you decide 

"George," said his father anxiously, "let your visits to 
the house be as brief as possible." 

Clancy offered to assist George in meeting the immediate 
need of shelter from the sun, and Dr. Devoe gave the morn- 
ing to the care of his many patients. Mr. Willoughby said 
that he must first go to his home for clothing and to look 
after matters, but that he would soon return. Bodine was 
asked to mount guard and prevent, as far as possible, the 
fugitives from encroaching on the needed space. This 
proved no easy task. Old Tobe, after having received some 
breakfast, maintained his watch over the medical stores, 
while Aun' Sheba, who had followed her husband as fast as 
her limited powers of travelling permitted, cleared away the 
remnants of the breakfast for her family, George assuring 
her that he would soon make all comfortable provision for 
her and them. 

With Clancy and the two colored men he repaired to his 
home, as the wrecked venture to a ship which may break 
up at any moment, in order to secure what was absolutely 
essential. A tent was soon pitched for the invalids ; a 
shelter of quilts suspended over and around his father, and 
a large carpet jerked from the floor formed an awning for 


the ladies. Part of this awning was partitioned off so as to 
give tiiem all the privacy possible under the circumstances, 
and the remainder was enclosed on three sides, but left open 
towards the east. 

" I'm not going to be sent to the hospital," said Mrs. 
Bodine. " I'd rather sit up and direct Ella how to trans- 
form this outer habitation into a drawing-room." 

Then George brought her and his father easy-chairs. 
Rugs were spread on the grass, and the rude shelter be- 
came positively mviting. Ella and Mrs. Willoughby made 
themselves so useful that at last Miss Ainsley so far recov- 
ered from her panic as to assist. She detested Mara, and 
Mrs. Hunter's ghastly face and white hair embodied to her 
mind the terror of which all were in dread. The bright 
sunshine and homely work were suggestive of rural pleas- 
ures rather than of dire necessity, and helped, for the time, 
to retire the spectre of danger to the background. The 
coming and going of many acquaintances and friends also 
helped to rally her spirits, and incite her to the semblance 
of courage. Mrs. Willoughby, Mrs. Bodine, and Mara had 
stanch friends who sought them out the moment compara- 
tive safety had been secured for their nearer dependents. 
The demands of our story require nothing more than the 
brief statement that there was a general disposition on the 
part of the people to think of and care for all who had 
claims upon them. Even in the dreadful hours immediately 
following the first shock, much unselfish heroism was dis- 
played ; and during the weary days and nights which fol- 
lowed, men and women vied with each other in their 
attentions to those who most needed care. 

Mrs. Bodine, Mrs. Willoughby, and the captain had sev- 
eral whispered conferences with those who felt surprise at 
associations with Mr. Houghton, and there was a quick, 
generous response to the old man's kindness. Some who 


would not have looked at him the day before noAv went 
and spoke to him gratefully and sympathetically, while for 
George only cordiality and admiration were manifested. He 
was not a little uneasy over the profuse attentions and offers 
of help which Ella received from several young men. To 
his jealous eyes she appeared unnecessarily gracious, and 
more ready to talk with them than with him ; but he could 
not discover that she had an especial favorite among them. 
Indeed, she managed in their case as in his that Mrs. 
W'illoughby, Miss Ainsley, or some one else should share in 
the conversation. 

At last Bodine said to George, " I will now go to Mrs. 
Hunter's rooms and to Mrs. Bodine's residence, and obtain 
what is most essential. Can you spare one of your servants 
to carry what I cannot?" 

" Certainly, and I will go with you myself. Clancy and 
Sam can continue operations here." 

" George," said his father, " as soon as the absolute neces- 
sity for entering buildings is over, I wish you to keep away 
from them." 

" Yes, father." 

Ella added, " Remember, Mr. Houghton, that is a prom- 
ise. Please let the words 'absolute necessity' have their 
full meaning ; " and her face was so full of solicitude that 
he said, " I promise you also." 

With a smile and flush she turned to her father whisper- 
ing the tenderest cautions and emphasizing the truth that 
but few things were essential, some of which she mentioned. 
Jube had become like a faithful spaniel, the spirit of his 
young master re-assuring him so as to feel his only safety 
lay in obedience. 

As George and Bodine went down the street they were 
saddened by the evidences of disaster on every side. Even 
Meeting Street was still so obstructed as to be almost 


impassable for vehicles, and in some places the ruins were 
still being searched for the dead. When they reached Mrs. 
Hunter's home Bodine groaned inwardly, " How the poor 
girl must have suffered ! " He added aloud, " The mental 
distress caused by my helplessness during the last few hours, 
Mr. Houghton, has been much harder to bear than the 
wound which cost me my leg and the suffering which fol- 

" My dear captain," replied George, "your courage and 
clear head make you far less helpless than hundreds who 
only use their legs to run with. Let me enter this shell of 
a house alone." 

" That would be a sad commentary on your remark." 

They speedily obtained what they deemed essential, and 
turned off the gas which was still burning. It was evident that 
no one had entered the house since its occupants had left it. 
Mrs. Bodine's residence was comparatively uninjured, and 
when leaving it the captain was able to lock the outer door. 

On their way back to the square George stammered, 
" Captain Bodine, it may be very bad taste to speak of such 
a matter now, but we do not know what an hour will bring 
forth. I would like to have some understanding with you. 
Beyond that there may be no need of any thing further 
being said until all these troubles are over. I — I — well, 
can I venture to make my former request ? Your daughter 
has my happiness wholly in her hands. I do not intend to 
embarrass her by a word until she is again in her own home, 
but I wish to know that my hopes and efforts to win her 
regard have your sanction." 

" How does your father feel about this ? " Bodine asked 

" He has given his full and cordial approval. Now that 
he has seen Miss Bodine she has won him completely." 

" Mr. Houghton, I owe to you her life which I value 


more than my own. You know we are lacking in every- 
thing except pride and good name." 

" My dear sir," interrupted George earnestly, " God has 
endowed your daughter as man could not. You know I 
love and honor her for herself and always shall." 

" You are right," said the father proudly, " and you are 
so truly a man, as well as a gentleman, that you estimate 
my penniless daughter at her intrinsic worth. As far as my 
approval and good wishes are concerned you have them." 

Ella thought that George's face was wonderfully radiant 
when he appeared. As soon as she could get a word alone 
with her father, she asked, " What have you been saying to 
Mr. Houghton?" 

" I have only answered his second request that he might 
pay you his addresses." 

" O papa ! what a tantalizing answer ! What did he say, 
and what did you say, word for word ? Surely you didn't 
tell " — 

" I only gave my consent, not yours. You are at perfect 
liberty to reject him," was the smiling reply. 

" That is well as far as it goes, but I wish to know every 

Her father's heart was too heavy to permit continuance in 
a playful vein, and he told her substantially what had been 
said. " Well," she concluded, with a complacent litde nod, 
" I think I'll let him pay his addresses a while longer. The 
absurd fellow to go and idealize me so ! Time will cure 
such folly, however. Papa, there's something troubling you 
besides the earthquake." 

" Yes, Ella, and you must help me, — you and Cousin 
Sophy." Then he told her how he thought matters stood 
between Mara and Clancy, checked her first indignant words, 
explained and insisted until she promised that she and Mrs. 
Bodine would shield Mara, and act as if she were as free as 


she had ever been. " It will all come about yet, papa," Ella 
whispered, " for Mr. Clancy has evidently committed him- 
self to Miss Ainsley, although now I reckon he regrets it." 

" Well, Ella dear, redouble your kindness and gentleness 
to Mara, and let matters over which we have no control take 
their course." 

Clancy had not been idle during the morning, finding in 
constant occupation, and even in the incurring of risks, a 
relief to his perturbed thoughts. He and Sam procured 
a small cooking-stove, and also set up the cross-sticks of a 
gypsy camp before the open side of the awning. Aun' 
Sheba was placed in charge of the provisions, a responsi- 
bility in which Uncle Sheba wished to share, but she said 
severely, " Mr. Buggone, you'se dun git yer lowance wid 
Sissy an' de chil'n." 

Mr. Willoughby at last returned on an express-wagon, 
well loaded with articles which would add much comfort in 
the enforced picnic. His face was sad and troubled as he 
greeted his wife. 

" O Jennie," he said, " our pretty home is such a wreck ! " 

" No matter, Hal, since you are safe and sound," was her 
cheery reply. " Come, girls, we can now dress for dinner. 
I feel like a fool in this light silk." 

They all eventually re-appeared in costumes more suitable 
for camping. 

Mrs. Bodine was also enabled to exchange her blanket 
wrapper for the one she was accustomed to wear at home. 
With almost the zest of a girl she appreciated the pictur- 
esque elements of their experiences ; and her high spirits 
and courage were infectious. With the aid of Sam and 
Jube, Aun' Sheba entered vigorously on preparations for 
dinner; a breeze with passing clouds tempered the sun's 
hot rays ; and hope again began to cheer as time passed 
without further disturbance. 


"on Jordan's banks we stan'." 

A UN' SHEBAhad succeeded fairly well with the dinner, 
considering the materials and the appliances available. 
No one, however, was disposed to epicurean fastidiousness. 
The situation was gravely discussed, and the experiences of 
friends related. Dr. Devoe gave cheering assurances that 
injury to life and limb had been far less than might have 
been expected. " The first shock could scarcely have come 
at a better time," he said. " If it had happened when the 
streets were full of people, one shudders to think of the 
number that would have been killed or maimed. The fact 
is, the great majority of casualties appear to have occurred 
as people were leaving their houses." 

Mrs. Hunter received much attention from him, and she 
continued so ill that ]\Iara did not leave her. Bodine became 
convinced that a chance to speak with Mara in private might 
not be obtained very speedily, and therefore, with kindly 
consideration for her feelings, resolved to write that after- 
noon. He had nothing at hand better than pencil and 
note-book. He wrote, — 

My dear Mara, — You have so many sorrows and anxieties now 
that I cannot wait longer in my effort to relieve you of one of them. 
You should have been more frank with me ; yet, so far from re- 
proaching you, I only remember that you are the daughter of my 
dearest friend, and that you need me as protector and father rather 
than as lover. I appreciate your motive to sacrifice yourself for my 


sake. Perhaps you will remember that I have warned you against 
this noble impulse of self-sacrifice — a tendency, however, which may 
be carried much too far. You utterly misjudge me if you think I 
would consciously accept any such sacrifice on your part. As far as 
I am concerned you are free from any obligation whatever, except 
that of trusting me, and coming to m.e as Ella does, as nearly as you 
can. You need a stanch and faitMul protector against yourself, and 
such will be, 


Ella carried this missive into the little tent set apart 
for Mrs. Hunter. When Mara read the note she hid it 
in her bosom, and buried her face in her hands. Ella 
tried to soothe her, assuring her that she knew how it had 
all come about, and that it would make no difference in her 

" O Ella ! " Mara sobbed, " my pride needed humbhng, 
and I am overwhelmed in very truth. I thought I was 
superior to you, and that my course was so heroic. The 
result is I have wronged and made unhappy your father, the 
man I honor most in all the world. Oh, I feel now that it 
would have been better if I had been buried under the 

" Mara," said Ella firmly, " this is a time when we must 
make the best of every thing — when we should not waste 
our strength in grieving over what cannot be helped. Papa 
has explained every thing to me, and you will only wound 
him further if you do not comply with his wishes. He is 
very resolute ; and, in a matter of this kind, you could not 
move him a hair's breadth. Please do just what he asks 
now, and let time make future duty clearer." 

Bodine was not astray in thinking that his note would 
relieve Mara's mind. Sad and humiliated as she was, his 
words had taken her from a false position, and would 
enable her to give him the filial love and homage with 
which her heart overflowed. Even if Clancy escaped from 


his entanglement, which she much doubted, she felt that 
both should pay the penalty of their errors in long pro- 

As the afternoon wore away Mrs. Willoughby and ]\Irs. 
Bodine took some much needed rest. Clancy went down 
town to look after his own affairs. Mr. Houghton had a 
consultation with his confidential man of business, at which 
George was present. Then the young fellow busied himself 
in perfecting the camp appointments and securing more 

Kern Watson and his family, Aun' Sheba and her hus- 
band, with old Tobe and a few friends and neighbors, knelt 
around the remains of little Vilet as Mr. Birdsall offered a 
prayer. Bodine, Ella, and George, with his two servants, 
were also present. Then the minister and a few others 
helped the stricken father to bury his child. After the 
brief service the captain told Ella that she must go and rest 
till he called her. 

George ventured to walk back with the tearful girl and 
to say, " Miss Bodine, you seem to have a hand to help 
and a heart to feel with every one." 

"I should be callous indeed," she replied, "if I did not 
grieve at the death of that little girl. She aided in my effort 
to earn a livelihood, I saw her daily, and no one could 
help becoming fond of her, she was so good, and gentle, and 
quiet. Her poor father — how I pity him ! The mute 
anguish in his face was overpowering. He is the most 
quiet, but he grieves the most, and will never get over it." 

"I think you are right. Miss Bodine. I don't believe 
your intuitions would often lead you astray." 

" I am very matter-of-fact," Ella replied. 

" If I admit that, I must also add that one would htive to 
do his level best to furnish the kind of facts you would 
approve of." 


"And I must also add, Mr. Houghton, that you are fur- 
nishing them in plenty. I can never try to thank you, for I 
shouldn't know where to begin, or when to leave off." 

" Please leave off now. O Miss Bodine ! I am so grate- 
ful for your kindness to my father, and he is just as pleased 
as I am," 

"Ah ! I've at last caught you in a bit of selfishness," she 
said with a piquant smile. " You would keep the privilege 
of thanking people while denying it to me;" and she 
vanished before he could reply. 

" Oh ! " he groaned inwardly, " if any of these Southern 
fellows carry her off, I'm done for." 

Miss Ainsley spent a very wretched afternoon. Clancy 
was away, Mrs. Willoughby Avorn out, and she was left 
chiefly to her own resources, which were meagre indeed 
under the circumstances. Instead of forgetting self in be- 
half of those less fortunate, she brooded over what she 
deemed neglect. Mr. Willoughby talked to her for a time 
after dinner, and then busied himself in helping others pro- 
vide shelter against the coming night; loaning here and 
there some of the articles which he had brought from his 
home. Throughout the day multitudes had been making 
preparations to spend the night in the squares, vacant lots, 
and in spacious yards. Few had been so forehanded as 
George Houghton, who had the advantage of abundant 
means, and good, fearless help in his efforts. By this time, 
however, the square was well covered by almost every variety 
of hastily improvised shelters, and the rays of the late after- 
noon sun brought out rainbow hues, strange and picturesque 
effects, so diverse were the materials employed and the 
ingenuity in construction which had been exercised. 

Clancy had been almost reckless in his disposition to 
enter buildings, a risk which few others would incur on that 
day. He returned after four o'clock with a large supply of 


provisions, which he beheved might be difficult to obtain 
should the shocks continue with greater violence. So far 
from observing that he was pale from exhaustion, Miss 
Ainsley was inclined to be reproachful that he had remained 
away so long. He listened wearily for a time, then an- 
swered, " I did not think that I could be especially useful 
here. Men, like soldiers, must do what must be done. I 
have taken pains to learn in your behalf that telegraphic and 
railroad communication will soon be re-established, and I 
have arranged, as soon as a despatch can be sent, to have 
one forwarded to your father's last address, assuring him that 
you are safe." 

" My father is not at the place of his last address. If he 
is alive, he is trying to reach me, and he will not leave me 
till he has taken me utterly away from all this horror and 
danger. I hope you are ready to leave Charleston now." 

" Leave my native city in its present plight ! Why, Miss 
Ainsley, that would be almost like running away and leaving 
my mother." 

"Are brick and mortar more to you than I am? " 

"Bricks and mortar do not make Charleston, but the 
people with whom I have always lived. I will certainly 
take you to a place of safety, if your father cannot ; but my 
duty is here. I would not only lose the respect of every 
one, but also my own self-respect, if I did not cast in my 
lot with this people until every vestige of ruin has disap- 

" I'm sure I never wish to see the place again," she 
replied sullenly. 

" It would be unjust for me to expect that you should feel 
as I do about it ; but 1 am a citizen, and you yourself would 
eventually despise me were I not faithful to my obligations." 

This method of putting the case silenced her for the time. 
She knew that he had ascribed to her a higher conception 


of duty than she possessed, and she beUeved that he was 
also aware of the fact. Since she had gone so far with him 
she now wished him to be a bhnd, unquestioning lover, 
wholly devoted and ready to fly with her at the first oppor- 
tunity. The very quahties which they had mutually admired 
were now seen on their seamy side. Her cosmopolitan 
spirit which led her to sigh, " Anywhere so it be not Charles- 
ton," was now at war with his feeling of almost passionate 
commiseration for his stricken birthplace ; while she in turn 
found his unyielding nature and keen perceptions which had 
afforded such pleasure in overcoming and meeting were now 
not at all to her wishes. She had yielded to him as never 
before to any one, and was intensely chagrined that he was 
not wholly subservient to her. If he should not become so 
she could never think of him without humiliation. He had 
seen her undisguised in all her weakness. She had thrown 
herself into his arms and implored his protection almost as 
unreservedly as Mrs. Willoughby had clung to her husband. 
She had also left him when he was helpless, and again when 
he was ill and weak. What she required now, therefore, 
was a blind idolatry ; and so many had offered this that she 
felt entitled to it, even though there should be no such 
devotion on her part. If, in any sense, he should be critic 
as well as lover, he could make her exceedingly uncom- 
fortable ; and she had a growing perception that he was 
comparing her with others, that there was a lack of warmth 
in his words and manner, which even the circumstances 
could not extenuate. She resolved, therefore, to teach him 
that she would tolerate nothing half-way in his conduct. 
She was sitting on a chair while he reclined at her feet, and 
she determined that he should be at her feet in a sense 
which had large meanings to her. So she rose and said 
coldly, " Mr. Clancy, you seem to have so many obligations 
that I scarcely know where I come in." 


Then she went towards the awning, intending to withdraw 
herself from his society until he should become sufficiently 
humble. He rose in strong irritation, too weary even to be 
patient. At this instant the shock which occurred at 5.16 
passed over the city. In a second all her purposes van- 
ished ; her abject terror returned, and she threw herself on 
his breast, and sobbing, buried her face on his shoulder. 
Mrs. Willoughby also fled to her husband. As Mrs. Hunter 
had seemed quieter Aun' Sheba had been watching in the 
place of Mara, who had sought a little rest beneath the awn- 
ing. She now came hastily out, but Clancy would not 
encounter her eyes. Indeed, his false position overwhelmed 
him with increasing shame and confusion. He resolved in 
a sort of desperation to meet Miss Ainsley's requirements as 
far as possible until she was safe in her father's hands, and 
then to become free. If he had known how Mara's position 
enabled her to interpret his own he would have been more 

The shock which occurred so late in the day was a sad 
preparation for the night, to which all looked forward with 
unspeakable dread. Such little confidence or cheerfulness 
as had been maintained was dissipated ; weariness and 
deferred relief increased the general dejection ; only the 
bravest could maintain their fortitude. 

Mrs. Bodine's courage was due to a faith and a tempera- 
ment which did not fail her. The veteran remained quiet 
and steady, with soldier-like endurance, but Ella was be- 
coming exhausted. She had had very htde sleep for a long 
time, and had passed through strong excitement. Indeed, 
all her powers had been taxed severely. While she had 
more physical and moral courage than most girls of her age 
possess, she, like the great majority, suffered much from fear 
at the recurrence of the shocks. As night came on she 
yielded to the general depression. 


Aun' Sheba also had almost reached the limits of her 
powers, a fact she could not help showing as she set about 
preparations for supper. George instantly noted this. He 
had secured some rest the night before, and possessed great 
capabilities of endurance combined with an unusually fear- 
less spirit. He also believed that this was his hour and 
opportunity, and that he could do more to win Ella's favor 
that night by brave cheerful effort than by any amount of 
love-making afterwards. He little dreamed how completely 
won she was already. Her plan of receiving his " ad- 
dresses " indefinitely had already lost its charms. She now 
simply longed to lean her weary head upon his shoulder and 
be petted and comforted a little. Unaware that the citadel 
could be had at any time for the asking, George began his 
sapping and mining operations with great vigor. He made. 
Aun' Sheba sit down and give directions for supper,- which 
he and his two colored men carried out. Mrs. Bodine was 
the only one who would jest with him, and he had a word 
of banter with her; and a cheery word for every one as 
occasion permitted. 

" Bravo, George ! " said Dr. Devoe, as they at last sat 
down to supper. " We vote you the Mark Tapley of this 
occasion. I'm so used up that I've only energy enough to 
drink a cup of coffee." 

Ella was about to wait on Mr, Houghton as before, but 
George intercepted her, saying, "You are too tired." 

" I would rather," she urged with downcast eyes. She 
bore the tray to the invalid, who looked at her very kindly, 
as he said, "You are worn out, my dear." 

"Please don't speak that way," she faltered. "I'm just 
that silly and tired, that I can't stand any thing." 

" You brave, noble girl ! What haven't you stood and en- 
dured for the last few hours and weeks ! I have a very guilty 
conscience, Miss Bodine, and you only can absolve me." 


" No one must be kind to me to-night, or I shall break 
down utterly ; " and dashing a tear away, she hastily with- 

George heaped her plate ; but when he saw that she 
would touch nothing but her coffee, he looked at her with 
such deep solicitude in his face that she sprung up and fled 
to the sheltering awning, leaving him perplexed and troubled 
indeed. All were too well bred to make any remark upon 
this little side scene. At her post of observation by the fire, 
and although her eyes were full of tears, tributes to little 
Vilet, Aun' Sheba shook for a moment with suppressed 
laughter. Motherly Mrs. Bodine soon followed Ella, and 
taking her in her arms, said soothingly, " There, now, child, 
have a good cry, and you'll feel better. I wish to the Lord, 
though, that all the world had as little to cry about as you, 
my dear," 

" That's what provokes me so, cousin. It's so silly and 

" Oh, well, Ella, you're done beat out, as Aun' Sheba 
says ; and that's the only trouble — that and the blindness 
of yonder great boy, who expects to court 5'ou for months 
before venturing to stammer some incoherent nonsense. 
Now, a Southern man " — 

" Cousin Sophy, I won't listen to such words," said Ella, 
the hot blood coming into her pale face. " He isn't a 
great boy; he's the bravest man I ever heard of. Now, 
when every one is giving out, he is only the braver and 
stronger. If he is absurd enough to be afraid of me — 
Well, you are the last one to speak so." 

" There, there, child ; this is my way of feeling your 
pulse and giving a little tonic," said Mrs. Bodine, laughing. 
" You have indications of strong vitality, as the doctor would 
say. Bless the big Vandal ! If I were a girl, I'd set my 
cap at him myself." 


" O Cousin Sophy ! Aren't you ashamed to work me up 
so ? Well, that is the last glimmer of spunk that I can show 

" If I could only manage to give him a hint of your weak 
and defenceless condition " — 

" Cousin Sophy, if you do any thing of the kind " — and 
she almost sprung to her feet. 

The old lady pulled her back, stopped her mouth with 
kisses, as she said, " I won't tease you any more to-night." 
In a few moments she had soothed the girl to sleep. 

George and Clancy now took full charge of the camp ; 
for the members of their party, both white and black, were 
so exhausted and depressed as to be unequal to much exer- 
tion. Clancy seemed possessed by a sort of feverish rest- 
lessness. If he had been soothed and quieted when he 
returned in the afternoon, he would have passed the danger 
point unharmed ; but his jaded body and mind had been 
stung into renewed action, and now he was fast losing the 
power to rest. Outraged Nature was beginning to take her 
revenge, but no one except Bodine observed the fact. 
Again putting self under his feet, he took Clancy aside, and 
said, "Pardon an old soldier, but experience in the field 
has taught me when a man must stop. Dr. Devoe is ex- 
hausted and asleep, or I would send him to you. So take 
honest advice from me. If you don't quiet your nerves and 
sleep, you'll have trouble." 

Clancy, in grateful surprise, thanked him warmly, and said 
he would rest later on. His hope was that Miss Ainsley 
would retire, for in his present condition he felt that her 
voluble expressions of fear and general dissatisfaction would 
be intolerable. At this juncture some one came and said 
that a friend of his in another part of the square was ill and 
wished to see him. He explained and excused himself to 
Miss Ainsley, who replied only by a cold, reproachful glance. 


The light of day faded ; the stars shone cahnly above the 
strange scene, where lamps and candles flickered dim and 
pale, like the hopes of those who had lighted them. The 
murmur of conversation was lost in the loud singing of 
hymns, prayers and exhortations on the part of the negroes. 

Mr. Birdsall had gathered many of his flock about him, 
and was conducting a religious service in a fairly orderly 
manner. Both he and his people yielded somewhat to the 
intense excitement of the occasion, but it was his intention 
that the religious exercises should cease at a reasonable 

Kern, Sissy, and Aun' Sheba were sitting silently near 
him, and at last the minister said, " Bruder Watson, you an' 
your wife will feel bettah if you express you'se feelin's, an' 
sing awhile. I reckon, if I say you an' you' wife will sing, 
they will be mo' quiet." 

Kern assented to any thing like a call of duty, and Mr. 
Birdsall resumed, " Fren's, in closin' de meetin' fer dis 
ebenin', Bruder an' Sista Watson will sing a hymn togeder ; 
an' we, respectin' dere berebement, will listen. Dey have 
been gready offlicted, for de Lawd has taken from dem de 
lam* of dere bosoms, I ask you all now to listen to de ex- 
pression of dere faith in dis night ob sorrow. Den we mus' 
remembah dat de sick an' weak are in dis squar, and gib 
dem a- chance to res'." 

Kern lifted up his magnificent voice charged with the 
pent-up feeling of his heart, and his wife joined him with 
her rich, powerful contralto. 

" On Jordan's banks we stan', 
An Jordan's stream roll by ; 
No bridge de Avatahs span, 
De flood am risin high. 
Heah it foam an' roar, de dark flood tide, 
How shel we cross to de oder side .'' 


De riber deep an strong, 

De wabes am bery cole ; 
We see it rush along, 

But who can venture bole ? 
Heah it foam an* roar, etc. 

A little chile step down ; 
It go in de riber deep. 
Kin little feet touch groun' 

Whar mountain billows sweep ? 
Heah dem foam an roar, etc. 

Dere comes a flash ob light, 

Ober de cole dark wabes ; 

Dere come de angels' flight — 

See shinin' bans dat sabe. 

From de watah's foam, de dark flood tide, 

Fer de Lawd hab seen from de oder side. 

Heah music swellin gran' ; 

Yes, songs of welcome ring, 
White wings de riber span 
De little chile to bring. 
Den let ole Jordan roar, de dark flood tide ; 
We'se borne across to de oder side." 

The melodious duet rose and fell in great waves of sound, 
silencing all other voices. Contrary to Mr. Birdsall's expec- 
tations, religious fervor was only increased, and hoping to 
control it he asked Kern and Sissy to lead in several familiar 
hymns. The negroes throughout the square promptly re- 
sponded, while not a few of the white refugees joined their 
voices to the mighty diapason of sound, which often swelled 
into grand harmonies. 

Kern soon afterwards went on duty for the night; Mr. 
Birdsall confined himself to quiet ministrations to his own 
people, and the leadership of the rehgious exercises fell into 
less judicious hands. 




A UN' SHEBA, with a devotion which quite equalled 
that to her own offspring, returned to Mara with the 
intention of watching Mrs. Hunter while the girl slept. 
She found Mrs. Bodine sitting with Mara, but the old col- 
ored woman was received with a warmth of welcome and 
sympathy which put her at ease at once. Mrs. Hunter had 
sunk into a kind of stupor rendering her unconscious of 
what was passing, and therefore they conversed in low 

" I reckon we need have no secrets from Aun' Sheba," 
said Mrs. Bodine. 

" No," answered Mara, taking her old mammy's hand. 
" If ever a motherless girl had a true friend I have one in 
Aun' Sheba." 

"Yes, honey, you'se right dar, an' I hopes you git right on 
some Oder tings. I put a spoke in de hon'ble business an' 
I'se ready to put mo' in." She then briefly related her 
interview with Clancy and concluded, " Missy Mara, fo' de 
Lawd, wot kin you do but mar'y Marse Clancy arter wot 
happen wen he come fer you an' ole missus ? " 

Mara made no reply, but sat with her face buried in her 

" Aun' Sheba, this matter is all settled and settled honor- 
ably, too, as far as it can be. Captain Bodine has released 
Mara in words of the utmost kindness." 


"Well, now, he am quality!" ejaculated Aun' Sheba in 
hearty appreciation. 

" But," sobbed Mara, " it just breaks my heart " — 
" No, honey lam', it won' break you heart, nor his nuther. 
Doin' what's right an' nat'ral an 'cordin to de Lawd doan 
break no hearts. It's de oder ting wot dus in de long run, 
an' mar'in' gen'ly means a long run. You'd hab ter begin 
by lyin' 'miscuously, as I tole Marse Clancy, an no good 
ud come ob dat." 

"Well, it is all settled as far as Mara is concerned," said 
Mrs. Bodine with a little laugh, " and there need be no 
'miscuous lying. How Mr. Clancy will get out of his 
scrape remains to be seen." 

" Well, I tells you how he git out. I'se kep an eye on 
dat limpsey slimpsey runaway as well as on de pots an kit- 
tles, an she's gwine ter run away agin from dis yere town 
jes as soon as de way open. Dat'll be de las you see ob 

"She's had a hard time of it, poor thing," said Mrs. 
Bodine charitably, "and we can't expect her to feel about 
Charleston as we do. The question is, will Mr. Clancy feel 
obliged to follow her eventually?" 
" I tink he's 'bliged not ter." 

"Well, Aun' Sheba, I'm glad you have such strong 
religious ideas of marriage." 

" I'se feerd I ain't bery 'ligious 'bout any ting. I put 
myself on 'bation while ago, but I kin'er forgits 'bout dat 
'bation, I hab so much to tink ob." 

Mrs. Bodine began to laugh as she said, " I thought you 
were a sensible woman, Aun' Sheba." 

" Yes, I know. I did tole Marse Clancy dat I hab hoss- 

"Then you were lying 'miscuously." 
"How dat, missus?" 


" Why, Aun' Sheba, do you think you have been hiding 
your light under a bushel basket all this time ? Old Han- 
nah — poor old Hannah ! I wonder what has become of 
her — she and Mara have told me how you do for the sick 
and poor. Don't you know that the Bible says, ' Inasmuch 
as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my breth- 
ren ye have done it unto me ' ? You've sent me nice things 
more than once. I'm 'one of the least of these.' You 
don't do these things to be seen of men." 

" No, nor I doesn't do it kase I specs ter git anoder 
string to my harp bime-by. I does it kase I'se kin'er sorry 
fer de po' critters." 

" Exactly. That is why He fed the hungry and healed 
the sick. He was sorry for them. Come, Aun' Sheba, 
don't be foolish any more." 

"I feels it kin'er sumptious ter be so shuah." 

"Now, Aun' Sheba, you are doing wrong," said Mrs. 
Bodme gravely and earnestly. "The Lord has been very 
patient with you — more so than I would be. If I had 
made you promises and you kept saying, ' I don't feel sure 
about them,' I'd give you a piece of my mind." 

" Lor, missus, how you puts it ! Is it dataway ? " 


"Well, den, I jes takes myse'f off 'bation. I'se gwine ter 
hang onter de promises. Lawd, Lawd, missus, I s'posed I'd 
hab ter groan so dey heah me all ober de squar fo' I could 
be 'ligious." 

" Oh, dear, hear it now ! Such groaning makes every 
one else groan. The voice that God hears is the wish of 
the heart and not a hullabaloo. How shall we get through 
the night if this keeps up? If you'll help me to my quar- 
ters I'll try to get what rest I can." 

When Aun' Sheba returned, Mara insisted on her lying 
down till she was called. '' I shall do something in this 


time of trouble except make trouble," said the girl reso- 
lutely, and she would take no denial. 

Clancy found that his friend needed much attention, 
which he gave until warned by his own symptoms that he 
must see a physician. He found George lying on a blanket 
by a small fire, and that all the others were either sleeping 
or resting. " I declare I hate to waken Dr. Devoe," he 
said, " but I feel as if I were going to be ill." 

George felt the hand of his friend, and sprung up, saying, 
" I'll waken Dr. Devoe with or without your leave." 

After a brief examination the physician said, — 

" Why did you not come to me before ? " 

Clancy explained that he had been caring for a sick 
friend, to which the doctor replied testily, — 

" I don't believe he was half so ill as you are. Well, 
you must obey me now as long as you are rational, and I 
fear that won't be very long." And he promptly placed 
Clancy under the open part of the awning, which was the 
sleeping-room for the men by night, and general living-room 
by day. Having given his patient a remedy, he returned 
and said, " Here you are, too, Houghton, up and around. 
Do you wish to break down also? " 

"You forget, doctor, that I had some sleep last night. 
Feel my pulse." 

" Slightly febrile, but then I know what's the matter 
with you. If I were not so old and bald-headed I'd cut 
out a slow coach like you. I'm half a mind to try it as it 

"Go ahead, doctor. You'll be only one more. How 
many are there now, do you suppose ? " 

" I know how many there should be after what I've seen. 
But bah ! you Northern young chaps lay siege to a girl at 
such long range that she surrenders to some other fellow 
before you find it out." 


" Would you have me call her now, shake her awake, and 
propose?" asked George irritably. 

" No, I'd have you fight shy and give me a chance. There, 
you are too far gone for a jest. What are you up for? " 

" Because I'm not sleepy, for one thing, and I think 
some one should be on guard. What's more, I don't like 
the way those negroes are performing. They seem to be 
going wild." 

" Yes, and they are doing a lot of harm to the sick and 
feeble. If they don't stop at midnight I'll find out whether 
there's any law in this city. I say, Houghton, since you are 
going to sit up, give Clancy this medicine every half hour, 
and call me at twelve." He then wrapped himself in a 
blanket and was asleep in a minute. 

If George had been wide awake before, the doctor's rail- 
ery so increased his impatience and worry that for a time 
he paced up and down before the fire. Was he faint-hearted 
in wooing Ella? Suppose some bold Southerner should 
forestall him? The thought was torture; yet it seemed un- 
generous and unkind to seek her openly while she was in a 
sense his guest and dependent upon him. "Well," he 
growled at last, " I won't do it. When she first spoke to 
me she said I was a gentleman, and I'll be hanged if I don't 
remain one and take my chances." 

He threw himself down again by the fire with his back to 
the awning. Before very long he heard a light step. Turn- 
ing hastily he saw Ella's startled face by the light of the fire. 

" O Mr. Houghton ! is it you ? Pardon me for disturb- 
ing you," and she was about to retreat. 

He was on his feet instantly and said, " You will only dis- 
turb me by going away, that is -^ I mean if you are not 
tired and sleepy." 

" There is such a dreadful noise I can't sleep any more," 
she replied, hesitating a moment. 


"Suppose — you might help me watch a Uttle while then," 
he stammered. 

" I'll watch if you will rest." 

"Certainly;" and he brought her a chair and then re- 
clined near her feet. 

" But I meant that you should sleep." 

" I only promised to rest." 

" But you need sleep if any one does. I've had a good 
nap and feel much better. How late is it? " 

" Nearly eleven, and time for Clancy's medicine." When 
he returned he told her about Clancy. 

" Poor fellow ! " she said sympathetically. 

" Clancy seems to have trouble on his mind. We all 
have enough, but he more than his share." 

" I should think you would be worried out of your senses 
with so many people to think about and care for. No 
wonder you can't sleep." 

" Thoughts of people do not keep me awake, and I am 
glad to say my father's resting quietly. He and your father 
are born soldiers." 

" Your father's to blame for my making a fool of myself 
at the supper-table. He spoke so kindly and sympatheti- 
cally, and I was so tired and silly that I couldn't stand any 
thing. Then you looked reproachfully at me because I 
couldn't eat all you sent — enough to make Uncle Sheba ill." 

" Now, Miss Bodine, I didn't look at you reproachfully." 

" Who's that snoring over there? " 

" Dr. Devoe. My facial muscles must have been shaken 
out of shape to have given you so false an impression. 
Anyhow, I seem to have driven you away, and I've been 
miserable ever since." 

" Why, Mr. Houghton ! The idea of letting a tired girl's 
weakness disturb you ! You will soon be as ill as Mr. 


" I'm only stating a fact." 

" Well, facts are very queer nowadays. I suppose we 
shouldn't be surprised at any thing." 

" Yet you are a continual surprise to me, Miss Bodine. 
Do you think I've forgotten any thing since you carried 
Mrs. Bodine out of her tottering house?" 

" O Mr. Houghton ! my memory goes further back than 
that. I can see a tall man leap into a sinking boat and — 
and — oh, why did you sink with it ? My father's agony 
over the thought that you had died for him turned his hair 

" I couldn't help sinking. Miss Bodine. If it hadn't been 
for that blasted pole — Well, perhaps it saved all our lives, 
for my boat was over-loaded as it was. But don't think 
about that affair. It might have turned out worse." 

" It might indeed. If you knew how we all felt when we 
thought you were drowned ! " 

" Well, I thank God that I happened to be near." 

" Happened ! You seemed to have a presentiment of 
evil, and kept near." 

" I was facing a certainty of evil then, Miss Bodine. I 
expected to go North in a few days, and feared I might not 
see you again. There, I shouldn't speak so now. My 
memory goes back further than yours. I remember a blue- 
eyed stranger who drew near to me when I was facing a 
street bully, as if she meditated becoming my protector. I 
saw a noble woman's soul in those clear eyes, and she said 
' I was a gentleman.' I must remember her words now with 
might and main. All that I ask is that you won't let any 
one else — that you will give me a chance when in your own 
home. Your father has " — 

" Mr. Houghton, is it not time for Mr. Clancy's medi- 

" Yes, and past time," he replied ruefully. 


When he returned she said demurely, " I think I can 
promise what you ask. Now surely, since your mind is at 
rest, you can sleep. I will watch." 

" I'm too happy to sleep." 

" How absurd ! " 

" Oh, the shock this morning did not disturb me half so 
much as to see those fellows around with their devouring 

" Mr. Houghton, don't you think that if we asked them, 
those colored people would be less loud ? It must be dread- 
ful for those who are sick, and there are so many." 

"They will be brutal indeed if they don't yield to 
you," and he led the way to the nearest centre of disturb- 

" Oh, see ! Mr. Houghton, there's our old Hannah." 

He saw an old woman swaying back and forth, her lips 
moving spasmodically, but uttering no sound. The crowd 
watched her in a sort of breathless suspense. Suddenly she 
burst out with the hymn, " O Raslin' Jacob ! let me go," and 
the throng joined in the mighty refrain. The women swayed 
to and fro violendy, all going together in a sort of rhythmic 
motion, meandme clapping their hands in an ecstasy of 
emotion. A man dropped to the earth " converted." He 
yelled rather than prayed for mercy, then suddenly swooned 
and became rigid as a corpse. Others, both men and women, 
were prostrated also ; and to bring as many as possible into 
this helpless condition appeared to be the general object as 
far as any purpose was manifested. The crowd seemed to 
regard poor, demented Hannah as inspired, for a space was 
kept clear before her. When she began to sway in her weird 
fashion, and her face to twitch, she was the priestess and the 
oracle. The hymn she began was taken up first by two self- 
appointed exhorters, then by all. 

"■ O Hannah ! " cried Ella, when her voice could be heard. 


" do stop and come away. You are harming the sick and 
the injured." 

The old woman started, and on seeing the girl rushed for- 
ward, crying, " Down on you knees. Now you chance. Pray 
bruders, pray sistahs. De quakes neber stop till a white man 
or woman converted — converted till dere proud heads in 
de bery dus'," — and she sought to force Ella on her knees. 

In a moment Ella was surrounded by the worshippers, 
whose groans, shouts, prayers and ejaculations created 
Pandemonium. The girl was terrified, but George encircled 
her with his arm, and thundered, " Give way. I'll brain the 
first man who stops us." 

Awed for an instant they yielded to George's vigorous 
push out and away, and then returned to their former wild 
indulgence of religious frenzy. 

For several paces after their escape he seemed to forget 
that his arm was still around Ella, nor did she remind him. 
Suddenly he removed it, saying, " Pardon me. Miss Bodine, 
I am that enraged with those lunatics that I'd like to give 
them something to howl about." 

" Please be calm, Mr. Houghton," said Ella genUy. " I'm 
not afraid now, and should not have been afraid at all. I 
know these people better than you do. They wouldn't have 
harmed us, and I fear they don't know any better. It's only 
their looks, tones, and words that seem blasphemous, that 
are frightful. It was I who took you there and I should 
have known better." 

" O Ella ! — beg pardon — Miss Bodine, what a savage a 
man would be if you couldn't manage him ! " 

"Then promise you won't go near those people any more." 

" You are too brave a girl to ask that when you learn that 
Dr. Devoe is going to tackle them with the police if they 
don't quiet down by midnight." 

They spoke in low tones as he again held her hand, while 


they picked their way among the extemporized shelters and 
uneasy refugees in the square. As they approached their 
own quarters she faltered, " I'm not very brave to-night, and 
I have long since learned that you are only too brave." 

He paused, still retaining her hand as he said, "What 
a strange scene this is ! How wild and unearthly those 
sounds now seem ! How odd it all is — our homes yonder 
deserted and we here under the stars. It's stranger than 
any dream I ever had, yet if it were a dream I would not 
wish to wake with you " — 

"Mr. Houghton, what's that, that, that?'' 

Far off in the southeast there were sounds like faint explo- 
sions which grew rapidly louder. Instinctively he drew her 
nearer, and saw her face grow white even in the faint radi- 
ance of the stars. 

" Oh ! " she gasped shuddering as the deep roar of the 
coming earthquake began. Then his arm drew her close, 
and she hid her face on his breast. 

" Ella," he said solemnly, " I love you, God knows ff these 
words were my last I would still say I love you." 

The mighty roar gradually deepened, and with it blended 
the cry of thousands ; the earth quivered and swayed, 
then the thunder passed on, accompanied by sounds like the 
distant crash of falling buildings. 

George kissed the bowed head and whispered, "There, 
it's over and we are safe." 

" O thank God ! you were with me ! " she sobbed. 

"May I not be with you always, Ella?" 

" God grant it ! O George, George, I would have leaped 
after you into the water if they had not held me. How 
could I do without you now?" 

" Come, my brave little wife, come with me to my father 
and re-assure him." 

" George," cried Mr. Houghton. 


"We are here," he answered, drawing aside the screen. 


" Yes, Ella and I. That last shock has rather hastened 

" Ella, my dear child ! Truly God is bringing good out 
of evil ; " and he took the girl into his arms. Then he 
added, "You'll forgive me and be my own dear daughter?" 

"Yes, Mr. Houghton. You'll find I am rich in love if 
nothing else." . 

" Ah ! Ella dear, the world seems going to pieces, and my 
wealth with it, but love only grows more real and more 

" My father's calling me ; " and kissing him a hasty 
good-by she vanished. 

Miss Ainsley again ran shrieking out, calling upon Clancy, 
but Dr. Devoe met her and drew her away from his mutter- 
ing, half-conscious patient. When she became sufficiently 
quiet he told her that Clancy was dangerously ill, and that 
nothing must be said or done to excite him. This seemed 
to her only another proof of general disaster, and, in almost 
abject tones, she begged, " O doctor, make me sleep till — 
my father will surely come to-morrow, and then I can get 

Her entreaty was so loud that even Mara could not help 
hearing her. The physician rather contemptuously thought 
that it would be better for all if she were quiet, and gave 
the anodyne. So far from feeling sympathy for Clancy she 
was almost vindictive towards him for having failed her. 

Fear, uncontrolled, becomes one of the most debasing of 
the emotions. It can lead to panic even among soldiers 
with arms in their hands ; sailors will trample on women 
and children in their blind rush for the boats ; men will even 
deny their convictions, their faith, and cringe to brutal 
power ; crimes the most vile are committed from fear, and 


fear had virtually obliterated womanhood in Miss Ainsley's 
soul. She was in a mood to accept any conditions for the 
assurance of safety, and she gave not a thought to any one 
or any thing that offered no help. With the roar of the 
earthquake still in her ears, and in the dark midnight she 
knew there was no help, no way of escape, and so with the 
\ impulse of the shipwrecked who break into the spirit room 
she besought the opiate which could at least bring oblivion. 
Her eyes, which could be so beautiful, had the wild, hunted 
look of an animal, and her form, usually grace itself, writhed 
into distortions. Her demoralization under the long-con- 
tinued terror was complete, and all were glad when she 
became unconscious and could be hidden from sight. As 
Aun' Sheba made her way to her own household she 
grunted, " A lun'tic out ob a 'sylem wouldn' mar'y dat gal if 
he seed wot I seed." 




'^T^HERE were brave spirits and Heaven-sustained souls 
X in the little camp which falls under our immediate 
observation ; and outward calm was soon restored, yet it 
was long before any one could sleep again. Although she 
had trembled like a leaf, Mara had not left her watch by 
Mrs. Hunter, nor had Aun' Sheba till some moments after 
the shock. Then Mrs. Bodine joined the girl with soothing 
and re-assuring words. She did not tell Mara, however, of 
Clancy's illness, feeling that no additional burden should be 
imposed until it was necessary. Mr. and Mrs. Willoughby 
sat together by the fire; so also did Ella, with her head 
upon her father's breast, as she told of the great joy which 
robbed the night of so much of its terror. Old Tobe, with 
Sam and Jube, crouched on the opposite side of the low, 
flickering blaze, which lighted up in odd effect the white 
wool and wrinkled visage of the aged negro. In some 
respects he and Mr. Houghton were alike. The scenes they 
were passing through toned down their fiery, domineering 
spirits into resignation and fortitude. 

George was restless, strong and inspired rather than awed 
by the recent events. He knew that Ella's eyes followed 
him as he came and went from his father's bedside, waited 
on Clancy, and made himself useful in other ways. A man 
would be craven indeed who could not be brave imder such 


Beyond his camp, scenes impossible to describe were 
taking place. White clergymen were going from group to 
group, and from shelter to shelter, speaking words of cheer 
and hope. Physicians were busy among those who needed 
physical aid; husbands soothing wives, and parents their 
sobbing children. 

On the edge of the square near the street the groans and 
cries of a woman began to draw the restless people who 
always run to any point of disturbance. 

"George," shouted Dr. Devoe. The young man re- 
sponded promptly. " Keep this crowd away — the vulgar 
wretches ! " 

A woman of refinement and wealth, who with her hus- 
band had clung to their adjacent home until the last shock 
occurred, was in the throes of child-birth. 

No one could stand a moment before the young man's 
words and aspect, and in a few moments he secured all the 
privacy possible. 

Eventually he bore the almost swooning mother to the 
inner room under the awning, where a bed had been made 
for her, while Mrs. Bodine and Mrs. Willoughby cared for 
the child. The husband was so prostrated by anxiety for 
his wife as to be almost helpless himself. 

Among a certain class of the negroes, to religious excite- 
ment was added the wild terror of the earthquake, and they 
were simply becoming frantic in their actions and expres- 
sions. George, Dr. Devoe, Mr. Willoughby and some 
others went to the large group of which old Hannah and 
two great burly exhorters were the inspiration. They com- 
manded and implored them to be more quiet, but received 
only insolent replies. 

" We'se savin' de city which de wickedness ob you white 
folks is 'stroyin'," one of the shepherds shouted ; " an' we'se 
gwine to cry loud and mighty till mawnin'." 


At this moment, George espied Uncle Sheba, who cer- 
tainly appeared, in the general craze, to have a sense of his 
besetting sin ; for he was yelling at the top of his lungs, 
"I'se gwine ter wuck in de mawnin'." 

Suddenly there burst through the crowd an apparition 
before which he quailed ; his jaw dropped and his howl 
degenerated into a groan. Aun' Sheba had heard and rec- 
ognized his voice, and she went through the throng like a 
puffing tug through driftwood. " Mister Buggone," she said, 
with the sternness of fate, " ef yer doan stop yer noise 
you'se 'lowance stop heah and now. Yer'U hab ter wuck 
shuah or starbe, fer if yer doan come wid me now yer neber 
come agin." 

Uncle Sheba went away with her, meek as a lamb. 

The others were too frenzied even to notice this little 
scene. George, Mr. Willoughby, and some others were with 
difficulty restrained by the cooler Dr. Devoe. " Go with me 
to the station-house," he said. " In behalf of my patients 
I will demand that this nuisance be abated." 

The officer on duty returned with them, backed by a 
resolute body of men. The two exhorters were told to take 
their choice between silence and the station-house. There 
is usually a good deal of selfish method in such leaders' 
madness, and they sullenly retired. Poor, demented Hannah 
was bundled away, and comparative quiet restored through 
the square. 

The weary hours dragged on ; the uneasy earth caused 
no further alarms that night. At last the dawn was again 
greeted with thankfulness beyond words. 

There was no paper that morning, for compositors and 
pressmen could not be induced to work, and at first there 
was a feeling of great uncertainty and depression. 

Mrs. Bodine's spirit was again like a cork on the surface. 
At breakfast she remarked, "We had an awful time last 


night, but here we are still alive, and able to take some 
nourishment. I expect the Northern papers will say that 
this wicked and rebellious old city is getting its deserts ; but 
we shall soon have help and cheer from our Southern 

"I think you will find yourself mistaken, Mrs. Bodine, 
about the North," said George. 

" O you ! " cried the old lady laughing, " you look at the 
South through a pair of blue eyes. I reckon we shall have 
to send you and Ella North as missionaries." 

George in his pride and happiness could not keep his 
secret, and had been congratulated with honest heartiness. 
He therefore responded gayly, " When I take Ella North 
even earthquakes won't keep young fellows from coming 
here to see if any more like her are left." 

Again Ella remarked, nodding significantly, "Time will 
cure him. Cousin Sophy." 

Nevertheless the illness of Mrs. Hunter and Clancy, and 
the precarious condition of the young mother, cast a gloom 
over the little party. Clancy's pulse indicated great exhaus- 
tion, and he only recognized people when he was spoken 
to. Dr. Devoe prohibited any one from going near him 
except himself and George. Miss Ainsley uttered no pro- 
test at this. She truly felt that after the events of the night 
all was over between them. In a sort of sullen shame she 
said little and longed only for the hour which would bring 
her father and escape. 

Mr. Ainsley arrived during the morning, and George 
entertained him hospitably. His daughter clung to him 
imploring him to take her away at the first possible moment. 
He was much distressed at Clancy's condition, and offered 
to take him North also ; but Dr. Devoe said authoritatively, 
" He is too ill to be moved or even spoken to." Mrs. 
Willoughby and her husband were determined that Miss 


Ainsley should not give her father a false impression, and 
spoke freely of Clancy's great exertions. " Yes," added 
Dr. Devoe, " I feel guilty myself. He should have been 
taken in hand yesterday afternoon and compelled to be 
quiet in mind and body, but I had so many to look after, 
and he seemed the embodiment of energy and fearlessness. 
Well, it's too late now, and we must do the best we can for 

That day Mr. Ainsley and his daughter left the city. She 
gave vivid descriptions of the catastrophe at the North, but 
her friends remarked upon her fine reserve and modesty in 
speaking of her personal experiences. Her faukless veneer 
was soon restored, and we suppose she is pursuing her 
career of getting the most and best out of life after a fash- 
ion which has too many imitators. 

Poor Mara's name was significant of her experience of 
that day and others which followed. In the morning she 
learned of Clancy's illness, and it was eventually found that 
her voice and touch had a soothing effect possessed by no 

We have followed our characters through the climax of 
their experiences, and need only to suggest what further 
happened. They, with others, realized more fully the con- 
ditions of their lot and the extent of the disaster. 

With an ever increasing courage and fortitude the people 
faced the situation, and resolved to build anew the fortunes 
of their city. Communication with the outside world per- 
mitted messages of sympathy and far more. In the Sunday 
morning issue of the News and Courier the following signifi- 
cant editorial appeared : " There is no break in the broad 
line of brotherly love throughout the United States. All 
hearts in this mighty country throb in unison. In the 
North as in the South, in the West as in the East, there is a 
sincere sorrow at the calamity which has befallen Charleston, 


and there is shining evidence of a beneficent desire to give 
the suffering people the assistance of both act and word." 

Boston, the former headquarters of the aboUtionists, and 
the veterans of the Grand Army vied with Southern cities 
and ex-Confederates in a spontaneous outpouring of sympa- 
thy and help. The hearts of a proud people were at last 
subdued, but it was by hands stretched out in fraternal love 
and not to strike. 

In the city squares and other places of refuge there still 
continued sad and awful experiences, one of which was 
graphically described by the city editor of the journal 
already quoted. 

At nearly midnight on Friday there had been a cessation 
in the shocks for about twenty-four hours, and the people 
were resting quietly. Then came a convulsion second only 
in severity to the first one which had wrought such wide- 
spread ruin. " It had scarcely died away," to quote from 
the account referred to, " before there rose through the still 
night air in the direction of the public squares and parks 
the now familiar but still terrible cries of thousands of 
wailing voices, united in one vast chorus, expressive only 
of the utmost human misery. For a while this sound was 
heard above all other sounds, suggesting vividly to the mind 
what has been told by survivors of the scene that follows 
the sinking of a great ship at sea, when its living freight is 
left struggling with the waves; and this impression was 
heightened to the distant auditor by the gradual diminution 
in the volume of the cries, as though voice after voice were 
being silenced, as life after life were quenched beneath the 
tossing waves." 

Dr. Devoe advised Mr. Houghton to leave the city, but 
he said, " No, I shall remain with my children ; I shall 
share in the fortunes of the city which is henceforth to be 
my home." 


Mrs. Hunter did not long survive, but she became quiet 
and rational before her end. To Mara's imploring words 
she replied calmly, " No, my time is near ; and I feel that 
it is best. I belong to the old order of things, and have 
lingered too long already. I may have been mistaken in 
my feelings, and wrong in my enmities, but I had great prov- 
ocation. Now I forgive as I hope to be forgiven. God 
grant, dear child, that you may have brighter days." 

A sad little company followed her to the cemetery, and as 
they laid her to rest, they also spread over her memory the 
mantle of a broad, loving charity. 

For a time it seemed as if brighter days could never come 
to Mara, for Clancy's life flickered like the light of an 
expiring candle. At last the fever broke and he became 
rational, the pure, open air conducing to his recovery. He 
was very weak and his convalescence was slow, measuring 
the mental and physical strain through which he had passed. 
Never had a poor mortal more faithful watchers, never was 
life wooed back from the dark shore by more devoted love. 
" Live, live," was ever the language of Mara's eyes, and 
happiness gave him the power to live. 

Captain Bodine carried out both the letter and spirit of 
his note. While he was very gentle, he was also very firm 
with Mara, expressing only paternal affection and also ex- 
erting paternal authority. At proper times he told her to 
go and rest in tones which she obeyed. 

One day when Clancy was able to sit up a little, he took 
iier aside and said, " Mara, you and Mr. Clancy are in one 
sense comparatively alone in the world, although you have 
many stanch friends. His health, almost his life, requires 
the faithful, watchful care which you can best give, and 
which you are entided to give. It is his wish and mine, 
also Cousin Sophy's, that you should be married at once." 

Again she gave him that luminous look which he so well 


remembered — an expression so full of homage, affection 
and sympathy that for the first time tears came into his 
eyes. "There, my child," he said, " you have repaid me, 
you have compensated me for every thing. There is no 
need of words," — and he turned hastily away. 

When the sun was near the horizon Mara was married, 
not in old St. Michael's, as her mother had been, but in the 
large tent which of late had sheltered her lover. Her pastor 
employed the old sacred words to which her mother had 
responded ; and Captain Bodine, with the impress of calm, 
victorious manhood on his brow, gave her away in the pres- 
ence of the little group of those who knew her best and 
loved her most. We may well believe from that time forth 
her gentleness and happiness would change the meaning of 
her name. 

At last all ventured back to their homes. Mr. Houghton 
was so averse to parting with Ella that he equalled George 
in his impatience for the marriage. Aun' Sheba, who super- 
vised preparations for the wedding breakfast, declared, " It 
am jes jolly ter see old Marse Houghton. As fer Missus 
Bodine, it pears as if she'd go off de han'l." 

Then father and son took the blue-eyed bride to tlie 
North on a visit, in what George characterized as a " sort of 
triumphal procession." 

The cabins of Aun' Sheba and Kern Watson were re- 
stored to a condition better than their former state, but 
Uncle Sheba discovered that the good old times of his wife's 
easy tolerance were gone. She put the case plainly, " Mr. 
Buggone, de Bible says dat dem dat doesn't wuck mus'n't 
eat, an' I'se gwine ter stick ter de Bible troo tick an' tin. 
You'se able to wuck as I be, an' you'se 'lowance now 
'pends on you'se wuck." 

We have already seen that Uncle Sheba was one of those 
philosophers who always submit to the inevitable. 


Late one September night the moonbeams shone under 
the moss-draped branches of a live oak in a cemetery. 
They brought out in snowy whiteness a small headstone on 
which were engraved the words, " Yes, Vilet." Sitting by 
the grave and leaning his head against the stone was Kern 
Watson, but his calm, strong face was turned heavenward 
where his little girl waited for him " shuah."